Chinese Western Han Dynasty Round Painted Pottery Box (Pig & Tiger)
This rare and unusual pottery box was made over 2,000 years ago during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 8). It is made from a relatively high-fired grey pottery that has been "cold painted", both inside and out, in various coloured pigments. The inner surface has been painted in a reddish-brown. The lower outer surface is painted in a base coat of the same reddish-brown on top of which have been painted decorative bands and geometric patterns in black, purple and white pigments.
However, the most elaborate and interesting painted decoration is to the outer surface of the cover. Here the base coat is white on top of which have been applied brown, orange, black, purple and green pigments. The painted design features a pig (or boar) and a tiger within an elaborate scroll surrounding the cover. In addition are other bands and geometric patterns with a flower design on top. There are also five pierced holes in the top of the cover, clearly made whilst the clay was still soft.
This is quite a large vessel with a diameter of 25 cm (9.75 inches), height 19.75 cm (7.75 inches). Although there is some staining to the surface and minor loss of pigment in places, the amount of original pigment remaining is exceedingly high. The various white lines to the inner surfaces have been made by ancient root/plant growths during its long burial. To the outer surface, on both the upper and lower sections, are "calcified" ancient plant/root growths on top of the painted design. However, there are signs of professional repairs suggesting this vessel has been broken and re-stuck - the repairs have been performed with minimal disturbance to the original painted design. This item is available for inspection at our gallery.
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