Ritual wine vessel, Hu

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€ 11000

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Origin
China
Period
Western Han Dynasty, 206 BC – 9 AD
Material
Bronze
Height
32 cm
Diameter
21 cm
Literature

J.Portal, The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army, London 2007, fig.52.
Da Han Chu Wang: Xuzhou Xihan Chu Wan Lingmu Wenwu Jicui, Beijing 2005, p.190.
Zhongguo Wenwu Jinghua Daguan, Qingtongjuan, Hong Kong 1994, no. 1100, p. 306.

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Description

The pear-shaped bronze wine vessel is rising from a flaring foot to a waisted neck and flaring mouth. On the body of the vessel are three thin bands cast in relief, a similar band is encircling the mouth. On either side of the wine vessel is a cast taotie-mask, through which a movable ring is attached at the nose. At the neck there are remains of inlay in V-shape, which is very unusual. On the round lid are four 'S'-shaped finials, which form supports when the lid is turned upside down. The vessel has an attractive patina of mottled grey colour with green encrustations.

The bronze vessel would have functioned as a wine vessel, used by an elite member of the nobility or wealthy merchant. The hu was found in a tomb and served as a burial gift; securing the deceased of the same luxury in the afterlife as he or she enjoyed on earth.

Comparable vessels:

Victoria & Albert Museum Londen, inv. no. 70-1876

The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, inv. no. 18.56.6

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