A finely modelled Han Dynasty moulded clay paperweight in the shape of a naturalistically rendered pig, shown recumbent. Incised lines have been added to create the illusion of the animal’s short mane, legs and mouth. The paperweight’s surface displays traces of the original white slip.
Date: Circa 206 BC- 220 AD Period: Han Dynasty Condition: Fine, with traces of the original white slip.
The invention of paper has been attributed to the Han Dynasty, supposedly realised by a court official and presented to the emperor. Paper had major impact on the dissemination of Han literary and artistic culture. Zoomorphic paperweights made in clay, stone and bronze were abundantly produced in the Han Dynasty, as important study tools used by ancient Chinese scholars.
The pig has a long history and standing within Chinese culture. As a symbol of the Chinese zodiac, the pig symbolised prosperity and happiness. Folklore tales and an abundant array of grave goods in the shape of a pig have been excavated, and show the long history China had with the care-free animal. Both the poor and wealthy elite considered the pig a vital symbol to their culture.
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