Pilgrim’s Flask with Central Asian Dancers
Northern Qi dynasty (550–577)
Earthenware with molded decoration under olive-green glaze
H. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Frankenhoff and Mrs. Richard E. Linburn Gifts, 2001
Both the shape and decoration show foreign influence: the shape is based on a West Asian pilgrim’s flask, while the whirling dancer is performing a dance derived from the culture of Sogdia. Centered in present-day Uzbekistan, merchants from this polity, some of whom lived in China, dominated the Silk Road trade from the fourth to the seventh century.
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