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Food storage jar bu

3rd century-4th century


Unknown Artist

Alternate image of Food storage jar bu by
Alternate image of Food storage jar bu by
Alternate image of Food storage jar bu by
Alternate image of Food storage jar bu by
Alternate image of Food storage jar bu by
  • Details

    Places where the work was made
    Jiangsu Province China
    Zhejiang Province China
    Han dynasty 206 BCE - 220 CE → China
    3rd century-4th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    stoneware with olive glaze
    10.8 cm diam. of mouth; 21.3 x 32.5 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1962
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    This piece is a typical example of the food storage jars found in tombs in the eastern region of China, from north Jiangsu to central Zhejiang and west into Anhui. It has three feet and two moulded stylised animal mask handles, with two concentric bands of a combed wavy pattern decorating the upper part which is also covered with an olive glaze.

    From similar extant examples, we can ascertain that these jars were originally made with covers that had a central knob. Like other Han ceramic shapes, there was a bronze prototype for this shape, an obvious legacy of which is to be seen in the mask handles on the jar. Early examples were made purely as funerary vessels (some have been found labelled and still containing foodstuffs in burial), but later pieces apparently served as storage jars and food containers in this life as well. From the technical point of view, pieces of a large class of high-fired stoneware with a feldspathic body, which, before the existence of earlier glazed stonewares of the Shang dynasty was documented, were given the name "proto-porcelain" to indicate that they represented, in essence, the beginnings of porcelain. They are the ancestors of Yue type celadons and the porcellaneous Tang wares.

    Jackie Menzies, 'Early Chinese Art', AGNSW, 1983. cat.no. XVI (illus.)

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications