Large Chinese Western Han Dynasty Painted Pottery Tripod (206 BC - AD 8)
This fine example of a painted pottery tripod, most likely a steamer, was made during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 8). It is a large example of its type, made from a fine-grained grey pottery and relatively highly-fired, having a distinct ring when tapped. The body stands on three long curved legs that have been luted to the surface. It has a wide ridge surrounding the body that allows the upper part to be placed upside down on it. The upper part has five holes pierced into its base to allow the steam to enter from the boiling water in the body, to steam its contents. Both upper and lower parts have been decorated by "cold painted" geometric patterns comprising white, orange and pale green pigments. Much of the original coloured pigments still remain. In places on the surface are the remains of "mineralised" root/plant growths from its long burial.
Interestingly, traces of fingerprints from the potter who lived over 2,000 years ago can still be seen on the surface of one of the legs.
Maximum height 34 cm (13.25 inches), diameter 27.5 cm (11.75 inches). The lower part has a firing crack, caused during manufacture, to its side, also an area above one leg where the surface has "delaminated". The upper bowl has a crack to its rim that has been stabilised, also minor chips to its base edge. Overall an exceptional example in very good condition.
Please see also two more Western Han Dynasty painted pottery tripods, stock numbers M9087 & M9088, reported to have come from the same excavation as this example.
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