Friday, March 23, 2012

~The Ancient Artifacts of China~

China, probably Henan province, Gongxian kilns, ca. 830 Stoneware

This tall ewer is the most spectacular of the ceramics found on the wreck. Its shape, and details such as the strap across the bass of the handle, are modelled on metalwork. The lozenge motif with leafy fronds encircling the globular body of the ewer is a Middle Eastern design that can be seen on other ceramics from the wreck. The handle terminates at the rim with a snake's head.

Hong Men Membership Tokens

Entrance into a secret society was entering the portals of a shady, complex world of codes, obligations and often violence, as those who crossed the triads found to their peril. These membership tokens were carried around by secret society members, touting slogans like 'Members of the brotherhood should help one another'.

Octagonal Cup With Musicians And A Dancer
China, ca, 830

This is the largest and heaviest example of a rare form of cup. The panels are decorated with muscians and a dancer. They are identifiable aas Central Asian by their long curly hair and billowing clothing. During the 8th and the 9th centuries, such entertainers were popular in China. The ring handle with its bearded faces also show the influence of Central Asian metalware.

China, ca, 830
Gilded Silver

This sumptuously decorated flack is notable for its size and workmanship. Stylised lotus petals over the entire vessel except for the central medallions, which feature a pair of mandarin ducks, a symbol of marital bliss in Tang China. Attention was paid to every single detail, as seen in the elegant handle formed as a snake.

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