From our Early Chinese Collection, a very good Han Dynasty hu jar, most probably Western Han (circa 100 BC - AD 08), of well-known and documented form with a dish-shaped mouth, a molded animal frieze on the upper shoulder, and with two taotie mask handles on either side of the jar. Constructed of reddish earthenware covered in a green lead flux glaze that is somewhat crackled and has fired to an attractive brown in some spots, this jar has acquired a silvery iridescence from burial.
Han Dynasty hu jars such as this current example from the Shaanxi / Henan Provinces, are well-known and documented throughout the secondary literature. Identical pieces are illustrated in He Li, Chinese Ceramics, The New Standard Guide, page 74, plate 70, and also Suzanne Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, page 47, plate 41. For comparison, we have attached a photo of a comparable piece from He Li's book. See also Sotheby's, Sale L05210, Lot 113; Sale AU0688, Lot 595, and Sale AU 0695, Lot 556. While a good number of these jars were unearthed during China's construction boom of the late 1990's/ early 2000's and driving down prices, we are seeing fewer such pieces coming onto market.
Size and Condition: 14 1/8 inches tall, 10 inches wide at shoulder, several areas of glaze flakes and minor losses with some chipping near the mouthrim and a chip to the base. Excellent overall condition.