Museum quality archeology - rare jewels - wonders from history



Nº 220



Type Object:

Furniture and decoration


Height: 77 cm (30.3") – Diam: 40.7 cm (16")


Published in the book «Collecting Masterpieces» Part one, by Beryl Cavallini, page 48 – 49

This model of architecture has been built in terracotta and covered with a glaze containing lead which creates this colour is obtained thanks to the oxide of copper. It is composed of four different elements moulded and assembled freely. As a consequence of its funerary stay, it has been superficially covered with a very thin deposit of calcar with gives this beautiful iridescent silver look to that piece. The basis is composed of a circular basin with flat rim. The superstructure is piled up on it vertically. Well preserved, some restorations but no missing parts.
The arrival of Confucius would change the Chinese way of life. They then decided to organize a funerary ritual during which all the objects of the everyday life would be placed around the deceased. They started building these architectural models that resemble the first models of funerary houses dating back to the Neolithic period. It was under the Han that they really gained prestige. Han people were the first ones to be conscious that architecture would allow the Emperors to reinforce the recent unity of the country. Since the central government was struggling to consolidate itself, the aristocracy decided to build up large estates that will reinforce their power. Fiefdoms are formed by nobles seeking agricultural autonomy in the face of food shortages. The European-style fortified castle never existed in China. Houses remained as large farms, but the need to construct walls, moats, and towers held by armed men was felt. The full-scale versions of these towers were placed at strategic points of properties, by bridges, on hills, but were also mounted on carts and boats when they were taken to war. In fact, most of these towers were created from light, mobile wooden components, so that they could be dismantled and transported with ease. The square or round bases represent a basin or rather a moat, which were filled with water. A series of terraces at different level form parapets with balustrades, where archers would stay to defend their lords. These two structures of architecture are of an impressive size that is rarely seen, even in museums.

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