A Chinese painted pottery vase and cover, Fanghu

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Origin
China
Period
Han dynasty, 206 BC - 220 AD
Material
Earthenware
height
60.5 cm
Literature

Tokyo National Museum, 'Special Exhibition: Chinese Ceramics’, Tokyo, 1994, p. 26, no. 30.
William Watson, ‘Pre-Tang Ceramics of China- Chinese Pottery from 4000 BC to 600 AD’, London 1991, p. 122, ill. 83

Museums

Tokyo, Tokyo National Museum, ‘Special Exhibition: Chinese Ceramics’, 12 October-23 November 1994, no. 30.

Provenance

A Japanese collection prior to 1994

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Description

The square pear-shaped body and tall tapering foot are outlined in red, lavender and white pigments with sweeping cloud motifs interspersed with taotie-masks suspending rings highlighted in yellow on two sides. The neck is painted with a narrow band of cloud motifs below a band of pendant blades and the cover is of pyramidal form.

William Watson illustrates a fanghu in his publication ‘Pre-Tang Ceramics of China- Chinese Pottery from 4000 BC to 600 AD’ (London 1991) that is of similar shape and decoration although slightly smaller. It is dated to the Western Han dynasty, 2nd - 1st century BC. In 1994, the present vase was included in an exhibition of the Tokyo National museum on Chinese ceramics. As written in the foreword of the exhibition catalogue: ‘Japanese people have been admiring and cherishing Chinese ceramics since early times…’ 

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