Collecting Masterpieces
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Archaic and Imperial Chinat


Object :
Nº 1603
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 17.5 cm (6.8") – Diam: 27 cm (10.6")

Nice large vessel reserved to the funerary ritual. Crafted using the lost-wax method, it shows however very fine details and remarkable decorations. The form of the body is round and cylindrical and rest on four small foot decorated with taotié. Two other taotié wearing rings, as well as another one placed on the lid serve as handle. The lid is decorated with four fantastical birds in relief, each with a hole which was probably used to pass through either a chain or a rope. The vessel is covered with a fine heavy crust patina.

These vessels and vases used during the funerary ritual of the noble and dignitaries benefited from a great care during their production. This one is a perfect example, for the quality of its fascinating interlacing. The designs represent fighting dragons in the middle of clouds and symbols. The dragons represent the East of the world, and they embody the ideal mount of the deceased while they travel toward the afterlife. Taotié appearing under the Zhou dynasty are fantastic representations used as ornaments to keep away the bad spirits. We still do not know if it was a religious symbol, a symbol of a clan or a fantastic animal relying the men to the world of the spirits. This fierce animal alluded anyhow to mystery and beauty.