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HOME : Chinese Art : Han Bronze Vessels : Han Bronze Fang Hu
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Han Bronze Fang Hu - H.818
Origin: China
Circa: 206 BC to 220 AD
Dimensions: 12.25" (31.1cm) high
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Bronze


Location: United States
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Description
This bronze fang hu is notable for its elegant simplicity. Such a vessel would have functioned as a ritual container for the storage and transportation of sumptuous wines. This refined fang hu is essentially unadorned, save for two decorative Tao Tieh mask handles that have been attached to the swelling body. These stylized animals represent a type of dragon found in Chinese mythology. Their abstracted representation demonstrates, as well as the incised decorative patterns that adorn them, the influence of previous styles such as the Zhou Dynasty. A lid caps this fang hu, embellished with four abstract ā€œsā€-shaped projections that appear to be highly stylized birds. Over the ages, the bronze has acquired a fabulous patina of green 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 social hierarchy. Quite simply, only a court nobility of wealthy merchants could afford such a luxury. Although this vessel would have served 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 fang 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.818)

 

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