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
Lacquer has a long history in China. Processed and dried, the sap of the native lacquer tree is resistant to heat, water, and acids. During the Han dynasty, luxury goods and tombs furnishings made of wood or bamboo (or some other material) were coated and decorated with colored lacquers. Basins similar in shape and ornamentation to this example have been excavated at several sites in China suggesting that it was used for a liquid such as wine or soup.
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