Superb Ancient China Earthware Large Jar Han Dynasty 200BC $249.99
For Customers outside of USA
Extraordinary, Exceptionally Well Preserved Genuine Ancient Chinese Large Earthenware Jar/Vase BC200.
CLASSIFICATION: Earthenware Jar.
ATTRIBUTION: Ancient China, Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.).
Height: 182 millimeters (7 1/3 inches)
Diameter: 159 millimeters (6 1/3 inches) at belly; 123 millimeters (5 inches) at top lip; 78 millimeters (3 1/8 inches) at base.
CONDITION: Exceptionally good! Extraordinary! Entirely intact except for a the normal potting blemishes associated with crude hand production; and assorted minor bumps and bruises consistent with wear due to ancient usage and then burial since ancient times. All quite normal for a 2,000 year old vase.
DETAIL: A splendid, exceptionally well preserved large sized earthenware jar from the Han Dynasty of Ancient China. The jar is about the size of a very large melon – almost the size of a soccer ball. What’s really remarkable is that it is about 2,000 years old and is entirely intact, with no damage aside from the normal little dings and bruises one would expect with an earthenware household utensil which was used and then spent twenty centuries buried. There are simply the normal blemishes (bumps, warts and dips) one expects with earthenware crudely fashioned by hand. Notwithstanding these blemishes (entirely normal for an earthenware jar 2,000 years old), it has emerged from the soil in wonderful condition! There are a few light soil and chalk accretions which (if desired) could be brushed or washed off without too much effort.
The specimen is entirely intact, integrity undiminished, really in remarkable condition. There are a series of circumferential riblets visible top to bottom. This is evidence of the potter’s touch of course, the result of being turned on a wheel, adding character to the piece. Overall it is a very attractive piece, a nicely preserved intact specimen of the ancient Chinese art of pottery. If you’d like an authentic ancient earthenware vase/jar to proudly display, you could not go wrong with this one. It is solidly shaped, nicely featured, and nicely proportioned. Filled with dried flowers for display, this would be an exceptionally magnificent display! You could showcase this with great pride either at work on your desk or at home. Either way, it will certainly generate curiosity and perhaps even a little envy!
HISTORY OF HAN EARTHENWARE: During the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) grave interiors were richly furnished with a wide variety of miniature objects, usually fashioned as replicas of actual possessions, animals, or buildings. Called “spirit goods”, these items were used as substitutes for valuable possessions, and were usually produced in ceramic and were glazed or colorfully painted. The wealthy elite's increasing interest in elaborately furnished tombs led to the mass production of armies of ceramic figures made using molds. In the case of the royal burial of the sole Qin Emperor, a terra cotta army of 6,000 was produced in full size. Burial ceramics made during the Han dynasty were decorated with simple but colorful designs painted directly onto the unglazed fired pieces or with brown and green lead-based glazes that could be fired at low temperatures.
HISTORY OF THE HAN DYNASTY: The History of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.) actually begins in 221 B.C. when the western frontier state of Qin (Ch’in), the most aggressive of the Warring States, subjugated the last of its rival states, bringing the era of the Warring States to an end. For the first time most of what eventually came to be “China” was unified. The new Qin (Chin) King proclaimed himself a deity, and ruthlessly imposed a centralized nonhereditary bureaucratic system throughout the empire, establishing standardized legal codes, bureaucratic procedures, written language, and coinage. In an effort to even standardize thought and scholarship many dissenting Confucian scholars were banished or executed; their books confiscated and burned. To fend off barbarian intrusion, the fortification walls built by the various warring states were connected to make a 5,000-kilometer-long great wall. When the powerful emperor of Ch’in died, he was entombed in a massive burial mound. Recently excavated the royal grave revealed an army of more than 6,000 terra-cotta human figures and horses intended to protect the emperor's final resting place.
In ancient China his death was followed by a short civil war and the emergence of the Han Dynasty. The new empire retained much of the Qin administrative structure but retreated from the harsh and centralized rule by establishing vassal principalities in many areas. Confucian ideals of government were reinstated, and once again Confucian scholars gained prominent status as the core of the civil service. Intellectual, literary, and artistic endeavors revived and flourished. Technological advances included the invention of paper and porcelain. The Han Empire expanded westward, making possible relatively secure caravan traffic across Central Asia to Antioch, Baghdad, and Alexandria. Often called the “silk route”, it enabled the export of Chinese silk to the Roman Empire. The Earlier Han reached the zenith of its power under Emperor Wu Ti, who reigned from 140 to 87 BC. Almost all of what today constitutes China was under imperial rule.
HISTORY OF CHINESE CERAMICS: The first Chinese ceramics archaeologists have found date back more than 10,000 years. These were earthenware, which means they were made from clay and fired at the kind of low temperatures reached by a wood fire or simple oven. In China, most ceramics made before the Tang dynasty (600 A.D.) are earthenware. They may be glazed or unglazed, and are occasionally painted, often brightly colored. Stoneware ceramics are harder and less porous than earthenware and are fired at hotter temperatures—between 2100°F and 2400°F. At these high temperatures, the surface of the clay melts and becomes glassy. Although stoneware is usually waterproof, most stoneware ceramics are glazed for decoration. The glazes often contain ash, which allows the glaze to harden at stoneware temperatures.
During the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100 B.C.) bronze metallurgy superceded ceramics as the favored art form of the ruling class. However both the ceramic and the bronze industries evolved into complex systems of production that were supported by the aristocracy. Decorative designs rich in symbolism were created first in bronze were then imitated in clay. Chinese burial customs included the tradition of placing clay replicas of material possessions, animals and people in the tomb to accompany the deceased and serve them in the next life. Although archaeological finds have revealed that glazed pottery was produced as early as 1100 B.C. during the Zhou dynasty, the production of glazed wares was not common until about 200 B.C. during the Han Dynasty. However from about 1000 B.C. onwards during the Shang and Zhou dynasties, primitive porcelain wares emerged. Real porcelain wares appeared in the Han dynasty around 200 A.D. In the process of porcelain development, different styles in different periods blossomed.
The production of porcelain became widespread by about 500 A.D. Using a special clay with ground rock containing feldspar, a glassy mineral, the material was fired at very high temperatures above 2400°F. The surface of the clay melts at such high temperatures and becomes smooth as glass. Early porcelains were undecorated and were used by the Imperial court and exported as far as the Middle East. For instance during the Han Dynasty principally celadon (green) and black porcelain were mainly produced. The famous blue and white porcelain was created with blue paint made from cobalt and then covered with a clear glaze, which can withstand the high temperatures of the kiln. The technical and creative innovations of Chinese potters are unique accomplishments in the cultural heritage of the world. Today, archaeological excavation and research in China are revealing new sites and new examples of the genius of the Chinese potter.
HISTORY OF ANCIENT CHINESE CIVILIZATION: Want to know a little more about the history of human civilization in ancient China? Click right here.
A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request. Artifacts are mailed from the USA. Due to its fragile nature this particular piece is only shipped in an oversized box with lots of Styrofoam peanuts. The cost for shipping this item includes delivery confirmation (you can track your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Additional items shipped together do result in a discount. The shipping weight of this item is 4 pounds.