DESCRIPTION: A fine Han Dynasty cocoon jar (206 BC-220 AD) distinguished by its cold-painted colors of red, white, pink and lavender on a dark clay body. The distinctively plump, ovoid form of this jar, imitating the shape of a silkworm cocoon, has a good covering of the original paint remaining on the body. Characteristic swirling cloud and scroll designs decorate the surface in a flourish. Attached to the body is a wheel-turned neck and foot. This jar is in very good, “as excavated” condition with no visible repairs; some minor chipping to lip of jar's mouth. In the final photo of the foot, white impressions of fine roots can be seen, which grew while buried. Authenticity is guaranteed. DIMENSIONS: 12” wide (30.5 cm) x 11.5" high (29.2 cm) x 7 ¼” thick (18.5 cm).
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: During the time of Han Emperor Wudi (140-87 B.C.), fascination with the idea of the afterlife and the search for immortality reached a pinnacle. This preoccupation was given physical form in the distinct swirling decorations of painted Han earthenware vessels. Along with a variety of other earthenware objects such as domestic animals, soldiers, and attendant figures, richly decorated vessels of this kind were placed in the tomb and intended to serve the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife.