Skip to product information
1 of 3

AUA Oriental Art

COCOON-SHAPED EARTHENWARE JAR WITH CLOUD-SCROLL DESIGN, WEST HAN DYNASTY, 206 B.C.–A.D. 9

COCOON-SHAPED EARTHENWARE JAR WITH CLOUD-SCROLL DESIGN, WEST HAN DYNASTY, 206 B.C.–A.D. 9

Regular price $3,900.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $3,900.00 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

This handsome jar would have served as a mortuary object (mingqi), placed in a tomb as a substitute for the more valuable bronze and lacquer vessels used in daily life. Along with a variety of other funerary earthenware objects, attendant figures, and animals, richly decorated vessels of this kind were intended to serve the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife.

The silk industry, dating back to the third millennium B.C., was a principal source of wealth for the Chinese economy during the Han dynasty. The distinctive, plump ovoid form of this jar imitates the silkworm’s cocoon. The drifting cloud-scroll (yunwen) motif, which flanks a central vertical panel of diamond-shaped lozenges, is evocative of the celestial realms of a Taoist immortal paradise. During the reign of the Han emperor Wudi (140–87 B.C.), fascination with the idea of the celestial journey and the Taoist search for immortality reached a climax and gave tangible definition to the ethereal decoration of painted earthenware vessels such as this.

Period : West Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9)
Type : Earthenware with painted polychrome decoration
Medium : Earthenware
Height : 29.0 cm
Provenance : Acquired in 1999 from Hongkong dealer
Reference : THE MET Accession Number: 1994.605.31
View full details