Fine Chinese Han Dynasty Black Pottery Amphora
A superbly conceived design; jars of this general type have been found in excavations dating as far back as the Spring and Autumn Period (770-475 BC). Although perhaps not obviously Chinese in design, this type of vessel is one of the most iconic forms of Han Dynasty pottery and is thought by many archaeologists to be anthropomorphic, with the shape and "swirling" design of the main body based on the female human form.
This particular example was made some 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220). It is relatively highly-fired. There are bands of incised decoration to both sides of the neck and patterns to the surface of both handles. The "swirls" to the body are particularly well-defined with crisp edges. It has a smooth burnished surface making it a delight to handle as well as to view. To the recessed base is a swirling pattern of lightly incised lines. Interestingly, on the surface of one side of the lower body are corroded iron / rust deposits showing that this vessel lay alongside an iron object during its long burial.
Height 18 cm. This is an exceptional and fine example of this type. The vast majority of known examples do have some degree of repair/restoration, even if owners of them do not realise it! The only obvious repair to this particular example is the stabilisation of cracks to one handle, although it is possible the handle been off and re-stuck.
For information: the final image also shows what appears to be a "prototype" of this form which is being offered for sale separately: see our item stock number M8140.
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