Bowl with Geometric Designs
Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9)
2nd century B.C.
Black lacquer painted with red lacquer
H. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm); Diam. 10 7/16 in. (26.5 cm)
Purchase, Florence and Herbert Irving Gift, 1994
Likely used for serving a liquid such as wine or soup, this bowl is painted with dramatic swirling lines interlaced with small curls and other forms. Known as cloud energy, or yunqi, this design, which was pervasive during the Western Han dynasty, is understood to represent a forbidding but numinous realm inhabited by immortals.
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