This is a fine example of a Han hu wine storage vessel, buried for the afterlife. The compressed globular body narrows sharply to a slender waisted neck, covered with a dark green lead glaze that has developed a silvery patina due to long-term exposure to water.
This large, painted storage jar would have been placed in a tomb in north-central China during the Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.–9 C.E.). It is based on the hu bronze wine vessel shape, particularly inlaid bronzes from the late Shang dynasty through the Warring States (472–221 B.C.E.) periods. The shape of the hu may have been based on the vegetable gourd. The unique feature of this piece is its lack of decoration -there are no molded ring handles or other references to bronze vessels.
During the Han, a variety of cults and belief systems existed. Some systems aimed to prolong life, others to provide for continued life in the tomb, still others assumed the presence of immortal kingdoms to which the soul was transported. As bronze and precious materials were banned for burial, ceramics were substituted. This had the practical effect of making the tombs less attractive to looters.
- Origin | China
- Dimensions | 13"Dia x 18"H
- Age | 206BC - 220AD
- Material | Terracotta
- ID | RHS022
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