Chinese Han Dynasty Greyware Hu

£ 795.00

An elegant Han Dynasty greyware Hu. The simple vessel is decorated on the shoulders’ opposite sides with moulded taotie masks and a ring. Lightly incised grooves run around the vessel. It has a plain rim, large bulbous body, and stands on a raised integral base.



Date: Circa 1st - 2nd Century AD
Period: Eastern Han Dynasty
Condition: Fine condition; a professional repair to the rim.


SKU: AS-3571 Category: Tag:

The taotie is a motif commonly found on earlier Chinese ritual bronze vessels: the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, and possibly further back to neolithic times. It typically consists of a frontal zoomorphic mask, with a pair of raised eyes and no lower jaw area. The motif continued into later times out of respect for the tradition.

This particular shape is known as a ‘hu’: a vase of baluster-shape, copied from bronze vessels. The form is characterised by a pear-shaped body, which continues upwards in a sinuous curve towards a generous opening (often covered with a lid). The hu type appears to have originated during the Shang Period (1600 – 1045 BC). In the Han dynasty, it was often used for storing food: indeed, many have been found in tombs, filled with foodstuffs to sustain the deceased in the afterlife.


Weight 1501 g
Dimensions H 29.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain



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