Chinese painted pottery vase and cover, fanghu

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Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD)
62 x 26.5 x 26.5 cm

Tokyo National Museum, 'Special Exhibition: Chinese Ceramics’, Tokyo, 1994, p. 26, no. 30.


Tokyo, Tokyo National Museum, ‘Special Exhibition: Chinese Ceramics’, 12 October-23 November 1994, no. 30.


A Japanese collection prior to 1994

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The square pear-shaped body and tall tapering foot are outlined in red, lavender and white pigments with sweeping cloud motifs interspersed with taotie-masks suspending rings highlighted in yellow on two sides. The neck is painted with a narrow band of cloud motifs below a band of pendant blades and the cover is of pyramidal form.

William Watson illustrates a fanghu in his publication ‘Pre-Tang Ceramics of China- Chinese Pottery from 4000 BC to 600 AD’ (London 1991) that is of similar shape and decoration although slightly smaller. It is dated to the Western Han dynasty, 2nd-1st century BC. In 1994, the present vase was included in an exhibition of the Tokyo National museum on Chinese ceramics. As written in the foreword of the exhibition catalogue, ‘Japanese people have been admiring and cherishing Chinese ceramics since early times…’. The exhibition included outstanding examples of Chinese ceramics from the Neolithic to the Qing periods. 


Comparative Literature

William Watson, ‘Pre-Tang Ceramics of China- Chinese Pottery from 4000 BC to 600 AD’, London 1991, p. 122, ill. 83


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