Rare Chinese Qin / Early Western Han Dynasty Burnished Pottery Cocoon Jar
This superbly-shaped pottery jar was made over 2,000 years ago during the Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC) or the very early part of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 8). The shape, named after its similarity to the silkworm cocoon, evolved during the late Warring States period (475 - 221 BC) and then generally died out by the middle of the Western Han. This is a very nice example and has a finely-burnished surface making it very smooth to the touch. It is quite "heavily-potted" and made from a relatively high-fired grey pottery. The surface colour varies in places, a result of uneven conditions in the kiln during firing. In places on the surface are marks left by ancient plant/root growths from its long burial.
The body is decorated with eleven raised vertical bands that surround the body; the long neck has been similarly decorated. Although all ancient Chinese cocoon jars date from the Western Han period, it is these raised bands, the relatively long neck and short base that distinguish this as a particularly early example, comparatively much rarer than the later examples that typically have a taller foot with their bodies decorated by incised lines.
A good size with a height of 29 cm (11.5 inches), length 31 cm (12.25 inches). Overall condition is very good although there is a chip to the upper part of the mouth and possible small repairs to chips to the rim and base edges.
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