Pottery jar with dragon handles


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

This funerary jar is made of grey earthenware. It was clearly intended to imitate a bronze vessel, which would have been more expensive, thus carrying greater status. Both the form of the jar and the incised patterns of the decoration copy contemporary bronzes. Pottery placed in burials that imitated bronze and lacquer came into use during the Eastern Zhou period (771-221 BC). It was a tradition that continued for many centuries.The handles of the jar are in the shape of dragons. The vessel rests on a tripod, whose legs are also animal forms. The lid has a single round hole in the centre, with two rectangular holes in each of the four directions.

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  • Title: Pottery jar with dragon handles
  • Date Created: 960/1126
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 11.90in
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: engraved
  • Registration number: 1933,1025.1.a
  • Place: Found/Acquired China
  • Period/culture: Eastern Zhou dynasty; Han dynasty
  • Material: earthenware
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Raphael, Oscar Charles