Archaic and Imperial China
Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220)


Object :
Nº 685
Medium :
Terracotta Ceramic
Dimensions :
Height: 34 cm (13.3″)

Description :

Large terracotta vase covered in a thick green glaze whose colour is achieved by mixing lead-tainted elements with copper oxide. The vase is bulging and bulbous in shape and rests on a pedestal. The neck is well proportioned, flares upwards and finished with a decorated register at its armhole. On each side of the vase lies a Taotie with a decorative ring that is sealed to the body of the vase, making this a very elegant piece. Very good state of preservation.

It is from the beginning of the Zhou dynasty (1100-256 B.C.) that a special ornament begins to appear on ritualistic dishware and which was believed to ward off evil spirits. The fact is that we do not know if it was a religious symbol, a clan emblem or a fantastical animal linking man to the spirit world. We do know that the ferocious beast that is the Taotie evokes both mystery and beauty. It is sometimes considered that these vases belong to the Western Zhou dynasty, whose reign ended in 9 A.D.