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HOME : Chinese Art : Han Bronze Vessels : Han Bronze Hu
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Han Bronze Hu - H.814
Origin: China
Circa: 206 BC to 220 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Chinese Art
Medium: Bronze

Location: UAE
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This diminutive bronze hu is notable for its elegant simplicity. Such a vessel would have functioned as a container for the storage and transport of sumptuous wines. A band in low relief decorates the surface of the exterior along the join of the shoulder and the neck. This band complements the lower half of the body that is raised slightly when compared to the neck and middle. As well, two decorative Tao Tieh mask handles have been attached to the shoulder of the hu. These stylized animals represent a type of dragon found in Chinese mythology. Their abstracted representation demonstrates the influence of previous styles on the art of the Han, including the Zhou Dynasty. A lid caps this hu, embellished with a stylized foliate motif rendered in low relief. Over the ages, the bronze has acquired a fabulous patina of alternating green and rusty brown hues, adding both delightful colors and pleasing textures to this otherwise sparsely adorned vessel. Such a work, forged from bronze, would have been the treasured possession of an elite member of the Han Dynasty social hierarchy. Quite simply, only a court nobility of wealthy merchants could afford such a luxury. Although this vessel would have functioned as a wine container in life, it was found discovered buried in a tomb. A symbol for the bountiful pleasures of life, for drinking and feasting, this hu would have represented the joys to be experienced in the afterlife and the feasts and celebrations yet to come. Today, this vessel is not only a gorgeous work of art, treasured for its history and rarity; but also a stunning reminder of the richness and luxury of the Han Dynasty, both in this world and the next. - (H.814)


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