Height: 11 1/4 inches, 28.5 cm
Width: 11 inches, 28 cm

Pottery vase of hu shape

China, Eastern Han dynasty, 25 – 220 AD

A pottery vase of baluster shape, the heavily potted body supported on a flat, glazed base. The bulbous sides surmount in a waisted neck, which has a widely flared rim that terminates in a cup-shaped mouth. Two rows of channelled grooves decorate the body, as does a band of incised pendant leaves around the neck. The exterior of the vase is completely covered in a lustrous green glaze that pools into thick drops on the rim.

The shape of this vase most probably derives from contemporary bronzes.  In the catalogue of the Meiyintang collection, Krahl states that, during the Han dynasty, tombs were often looted, and that expensive materials such as bronze were therefore gradually substituted by cheaper materials, such as pottery.[1] Krahl also points out that the poisonous lead content in the glaze would have made pieces such as this unsuitable for storage of food and drink.[2] A comparable, larger vase is in the Meiyintang collection.[3]

  1. Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Volume One, Azimuth Editions, London 1994, page 49
  2. ibid. page 49
  3. ibid. no. 80, pp. 60-61