China, 14th-11th century BC. A thin fragment of a hip bone, likely from a medium sized canine. Carved to one side with an impressive taotie mask and two kui dragons within a key-fret (leiwen) border, all in deep and high relief, adorned with neatly applied incision work, below a further key-fret band. The solid bone is smoothened around the edges with a fine sheen to the decorated surface.
Provenance: Galerie Wannieck, Paris, September to October 1942 (according to an ancient family ledger inspected by Cabinet Portier, Paris, France, during their appraisal of the complete de Strycker estate; this ledger remains in the possession of the de Strycker family and may not be copied). Collection of Robert and Isabelle de Strycker, acquired from the above and thence by descent in the same family. The display stand has three old collection labels. Robert de Strycker (1903-1968) was a French engineer who specialized in metallurgy. He was a Stanford graduate, a professor at the University of Leuven, a director of the Institute of Metallurgy at the Universite Catholique de Louvain, and one of the most influential members of the faculty of applied sciences. After World War II, he made large contributions to France's post-war recovery. Robert and his wife Isabelle (1915-2010) first encountered Chinese art at the British Museum during a stay in London in the 1930s. Enamored with the style and beauty, they both decided to study and collect Chinese works of art. In 1938 they eventually began to build their collection, buying from Belgian, Parisian, and English dealers. They kept close contact with the famous English collector Sir Harry Garner (1891-1977) and noted Czech collector and expert Fritz Low-Beer (1906-1976).
Condition: Good condition, commensurate with age. Possibly with some old fills. Extensive wear, losses, natural imperfections including foramina and fissures, encrustations, signs of weathering and erosion.
Weight: 29.2 g (excl. stand)
Dimensions: Length 9.8 cm (excl. stand)