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HOME : Chinese Art : Han Bronze Vessels : Han Dynasty Bronze Bowl
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Han Dynasty Bronze Bowl - FZ.398
Origin: China
Circa: 206 BC to 220 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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The period from 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. is known as the Han Dynasty. Under the Han rulers, science and technology made remarkable strides; paper, the compass, and the seismograph were invented; and steel was manufactured. The empire expanded into southern China, northern Vietnam and parts of Korea, and forged trade routes through Central Asia to India and Persia. Confucianism was reinterpreted and adopted as the official state ideology, and a national university was established for the training of Confucian officials. The political unity of the Qin was preserved, but sanctioned by Confucianism so that Chinese of today still look back on this epoch with pride and call themselves "men of Han." Diversity developed within the culture: native and foreign, Confucian and Taoist, courtly and popular.

A beautiful blue/green patina attests to the age of this vessel. The elegant shape of the body reveals the expert metalwork of the Han artists. The flaring lip of the vessel and the two circular handles complement the forms of the oval body. This bowl may have been used for ritual offering in ancestor worship ceremonies. Perhaps, it functioned secularly for dispensing sauces or rice at Imperial banquets. Considering the rarity and value of bronze during the Han era, this vessel was clearly a prized possession reserved for the Imperial elite or their close intimates. This ancient treasure has only become more splendid and more precious with age.
- (FZ.398)


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