Polychromic jar

Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)
H. 43 cm



This elegant terra cotta jar, dated to the Han period (206 BC – 220), is decorated with painted motifs unfolding on a black background. This refined polychromy is incredibly well preserved, and the motifs cover the entire piece. The decoration, composed of interlacing patterns, stylized clouds, and scrolls, would refer to a cosmic world. Composed in several registers, delimited by black rings, these motifs corroborate the elegance of the jar, where straight lines and curves are mixed, giving a great dynamism to the piece.

This jar, with its bulging body, narrow and elongated neck, and flared lip, is part of the Han Dynasty’s production of painted earthenware, which flourished unprecedentedly at that time. Excavations have revealed numerous objects made of terracotta with a ritual or funerary function.