Han Dynasty Green Glazed Pottery Dog - DK.161 (LSO) - For Sale

Han Dynasty Green Glazed Pottery Dog - DK.161 (LSO)
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This animated ceramic dog is a classic example of the Han sculptural tradition. Standing four- square on slim legs, its blocky body is in fact carefully sculpted, with detailing of the muscles, tail, paws and even claws. However it is the head and face that particularly stand out. The proportions are deliberately exaggerated, with a thick neck giving way to a deceptively graceful profile to the lower jaw and top of the head. The mouth – with sharp teeth clearly displayed – is open, the head tilted back and the ears pricked up as far as their floppy form will permit. Its alert stance suggests that it is in a position of defence, perhaps guarding someone/something from the threat of harm. The piece is covered with a creamy-ivory coloured glaze, applied over a light fineware body.The Han Dynasty was arguably the most important in Chinese history, and indeed many modern Chinese people refer to themselves as Han. It was a particularly dynamic time, its origins being found in the warring factions that caused the collapse of the Qin Dynasty in 206BC, upon which the once-unified Chinese nation was divided into 19 feudal states under the aegis of the insurgent leader Xiang Yu. The bitter fighting between these states resulted in the eventual victory of the first emperor of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang, and the suicide of Xiang Yu in 202BC. The small principality (one of the 19) over which Liu Bang ruled was named Hanzhong, and lent a shortened version of its name to the eventual multi-state agglomeration that was to become China.The Han Dynasty consolidated its power over the two subsequent centuries, and engineered massive agricultural reform that lent economic weight to social changes. This, in turn, led to trade expansion, with new trade routes (such as the Silk Road, and the route to Parthia) and a burgeoning middle class that brought new prosperity across the social system. Military expeditions expanded across Asia as far as Ukraine and the shores of the Caspian Sea, while China also kept up cautious diplomatic contact with the Roman Empire and the Kushans. Early Han rule was based around the Taoist model, and was comparatively at the mercy of powerful neighbours such as Xiongnu, nomadic tribes and petty internal squabbles. However, by the reign of Emperor Wu, the Han Dynasty had achieved its apogee and was able to assert itself over neighbouring areas. Wu also instituted Confucianism as the official modus operandi for the Chinese state, a major departure from the preceding Qin Dynasty where followers of Confucius were frequently buried alive.This was a time of true enlightenment for China, which saw the laying of technological and artistic foundations for almost all that was to follow. Science and engineering saw major achievements, with the invention of steel, paper, mechanical gears, the rotary fan, the mechanical trip hammer, seismometers, the blast furnace, the winnowing machine, armillary spheres, the concept of the water cycle (in meteorology), the recognition of the cause of eclipses and thunder and much else besides: most of these were first recognised by Wang Chong, who has a reasonable claim to being the world’s first Renaissance man.Art also flourished, due in part to the flood of new ideas from across the continent, and also to the burgeoning middle classes who were eager to demonstrate their gentility and to patronise professional artists. Many written works – especially poetry and plays – date to this period, as well as paintings and cast bronze or ceramic sculptures. The tradition of interring mingqi (grave companions) with the deceased – which had always been present in Chinese society – reached new heights, as the nouveau-riche competed for prestigious afterlives. The sculptures of this period have a notable charm that is absent in other periods, with considerable less stylistic standardisation, with frequent recourse to expressionism. As a result, Han sculptures are among the most charming and effortlessly fluid of all Chinese artworks. This particular piece demonstrates the exuberance of this period’s artistic heritage with great efficacy; it was probably intended to accompany his owner to the afterlife and to defend him there. However, it also stands as an outstanding piece of ancient art in its own right. - (DK.161 (LSO))

Ancient Asian
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Seller Details :
Barakat Gallery
405 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
Contact Details :
Email : barakat@barakatgallery.com
Phone : 310.859.8408

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