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Cocoon-shaped flask

Accession Number
1990/1.212

Title
Cocoon-shaped flask

Artist(s)
Chinese

Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
206 BCE-25 CE

Medium & Support
earthenware with mineral paint

Dimensions
10 1/4 in x 10 1/2 in x 7 1/4 in (26.04 cm x 26.67 cm x 18.41 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by a gift from Helmut Stern

Subject matter
Gray earthenware jian xing hu (茧形壶) cocoon-shaped jars were made for storing "wine," or rather millet ale.  The form is rarely seen outside of the Qin and Han dynasties.  These types of polychrome painted hu jars were made in northern workshops of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-25 CE) as funerary storage vessels to supply for the afterlife. They have been found in the tombs primarily in Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, and Henan provinces.  The scrolling cloud design, thought to be an auspicious motif with the power to ward off evil spirits, is the predominant decoration on Han artifacts and can be found in all media.  Polychrome painted earthenware ceramics were found primarily in aristocratic and elite tombs. 

Physical Description
A gray, horizontal, ovoid-shaped earthenware jar on a tall, circular flaring footring.  It has a tall circular flaring neck and an everted rim with articulation.  Painted on the body in vertical bands are scrolling cloud and diamond motifs in red, pink, black and white mineral pigments. 

Primary Object Classification
Ceramic

Primary Object Type
jar

Additional Object Classification(s)
Ceramic

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
bottle
ceramic (material)
earthenware
grave goods
jar
jars
mineral pigment

& Author Notes

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