Fine Large Chinese Qin / Western Han Dynasty Burnished Pottery Cocoon Jar with Oxford TL Test
This wonderfully-shaped pottery jar was made during the early part of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 8) or possibly as early as the Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC). This type of jar is often referred to as a "cocoon jar" due to the shape of its body. 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 Dynasty. Cocoon jars were used for the storage of grain.
It is made from a fine-grained grey pottery that is relatively highly-fired. It has a finely-burnished surface, very smooth to the touch and has been decorated with twelve bands of triple-incised lines vertically surrounding the body as well as raised horizontal bands around its neck and base. On the surface in places are the marks left by ancient plant/root growths from its extended burial.
A large Han Dynasty "Cocoon" jar is certainly a design classic and can look stunning in a modern setting as well as part of a collection of ancient Chinese pottery.
Height 31 cm, length 35 cm. This is an exceptional example in fine condition with just minor repairs to chips on the vulnerable edge of the foot.
As with many of our finer items, we have had this jar tested by Oxford Authentications, the ONLY testers of ancient pottery accepted by ALL major dealers, auction houses and museums worldwide, and the Thermoluminescence Analysis Report that will accompany the jar is shown; this confirms the date of manufacture as "between 1500 and 2400 years ago".
For reference: almost identical examples are illustrated and described in the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS) book "Spirit of Han", where they are dated as Qin or Early Western Han. The "cocoon" jar is one of the most recognisable and desirable forms of Han Dynasty pottery and most museum collections will include at least one example.
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