Painted pottery jar

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€ 2900

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Western Han Dynasty, 206 BC - 25 AD
Earthenware with pigment
30.5 cm

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This painted pottery vase is raised on a splayed foot. The bulbous body is decorated in white and red slip with a band of stylized scrolls and stripes. The neck of the vase is decorated with a triangular pattern with stylized swirls of clouds in the middle.

The pottery vase is part of the burial rituals in the Han Dynasty. High-ranking persons were buried with various everyday objects; it was believed that life after death was a continuation of the present life, and therefore the deceased was provided with all the objects, named mingqi or spirit goods, necessary to continue living after death. Thus, terracotta animals, horses and cattle were given, as well as food, clothing, pottery and valuables. Pottery models like this vase were made of low-fired earthenware, and were too porous to hold liquids, therefore not suited for everyday use. The stylized clouds on the vase are thought to represent celestial mists.


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