Jar (hu or zhong)

A work made of bronze with gilding.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of bronze with gilding.

Date:

Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D.9)

Artist:

China

About this artwork

The dragon became prominent during the Han as an auspicious creature associated with imperial authority and with the ever-changing nature of the universe. Since the dragon was endowed with the same dynamic energy that animated clouds and vapors, it was graphically combined with expanding and contracting patterns of great imagination and vitality. Here, dragons with interlaced trunks merge with scrolling "cloud" patterns to create continuous bands of ornament. This fluent decor was incised into the bronze after casting. Filings of gold and silver were then liquefied in separate baths of hot mercury and these butter-like solutions brushed onto the bronze; the vessel was reheated to vaporize the mercury and then burnished, leaving a thin but brilliant two-toned surface. This technique, variously known as amalgam-, mercury-, or fire-gilding, created a splendid object with economic expenditure of precious metals.

On View

Asian Art, Gallery 132

Title

Jar (hu or zhong)

Origin

China

Date

206 BC–9 AD

Medium

Bronze with gilding

Dimensions

H. 46 × diam. 36 cm (18 1/8 × 14 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1927.315

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share