Ritual wine vessel and cover, Bianhu

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€ 9500

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Origin
China
Period
Han Dynasty, 206 BC - 220 AD
Material
Bronze
Height
26.5 cm
Literature

See a related example illustrated by: D. Failla, Food for the Ancestors Flowers for the Gods: Transformations of Archaistic Bronzes in China and Japan, Genua 2017, cat.no. 7.13, and: T. Higuchi & M. Hayashi, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in The Sakamoto Collection, Tokyo 2002, cat.no. 234 - 240.
See also another bianhu, Western Han dynasty: J.C.S. Lin, The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China, Cambridge 2021, cat.no. 46, in the collection of the Xuzhou Museum.

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Description

The bronze vessel has a flattened oval shape raised on a rectangular hollow base. The sides have grooved bands, and on the shoulders are two loose rings. The domed cover is incised with a geometric pattern, the bronze has a mottled dark green color and blue patina. The bianhu was used for the storage of ritual wine.

The flattened shape of the bronze Bianhu vessels was probably inspired by the practical vessels that were used for carrying water on horseback. The Bianhu was introduced during the Warring States period, during changes in rituals and ceremonies.  

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