No Title

2007bm7245 jpg l

View the V&A API .json response

Acquired in 1914 (the spelunker thinks)

artist
attributions_note
bibliography
John Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1980, cat. 3 Rose Kerr (ed.), Chinese Art and Design, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 48, fig. 14 Liefkes, Reino and Hilary Young (eds.) Masterpieces of World Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publishing, 2008, pp. 26.
collection_code
EAS
credit
date_end
0220-12-31
date_start
0025-01-01
date_text
25-220 (made)
descriptive_line
Tomb figure of a dog, earthenware with lead glaze, China, Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD)
dimensions
Length: 34.0 cm, Height: 34.5 cm, Depth: 14.0 cm
edition_number
event_text
exhibition_history
gallery
World Ceramics, room 145
historical_context_note
historical_significance
history_note
id
58068
label
Tomb figure of a dog Northern China Eastern Han dynasty (ad 25–220) In China, animal figures were interred with the dead in their tombs. The figures, made from loess, were fired at relatively low temperatures. High levels of lead were added to the green glaze so that it would melt at these low temperatures. Similar highlead glazes were used in the Roman empire at this time, but it is not known whether there is a link. Lead-glazed earthenware Museum no. C.167-1914 [September 2009]
last_checked
2014-08-29T23:05:02.000Z
last_processed
2014-08-29T23:05:02.000Z
latitude
36.894451
location
World Ceramics, room 145, case 45
longitude
104.165649
marks
materials
earthenware, lead glaze
materials_techniques
Earthenware with lead glaze
museum_number
C.167-1914
museum_number_token
c1671914
object_number
O90685
object_type
Figure
on_display
1
original_currency
original_price
physical_description
place
China
primary_image_id
2007BM7245
production_note
production_type
public_access_description
This earthenware tomb figure depicts a dog with an upturned tail. It was made during the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25-220) and buried in a grave along with other models of animals, farm buildings and daily vessels according to Han funerary customs. The dog had the task of guarding the tomb and driving away evil influences. The figure has a green lead glaze which has become partly iridescent due to burying. The Chinese tradition of sumptuous burials had led to a great variety of ceramic figures of wild and domesticated animals being interred with the deceased in tombs. These animals, together with architectural models such as watch-towers and water-wells, provide a rich insight into the daily life under the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). This figure is made of loess, which has fired to the reddish colour visible in places where the glaze has flaked off. The fine texture and low shrinkage rate of loess had made it a favourite raw material for Northern Chinese pottery. However, it melts at a comparatively low temperature, so if a glaze was required this needed to have an even lower melting point. The potters therefore used glazes with a high lead content, which had the advantage of producing brilliant colours with warm tones. Modern ceramic historians have been intrigued by this development, as high-lead glazes were also used by Roman potters, and one theory, still unsubstantiated, is that the Chinese were influenced by the Romans. Unless properly prepared, high-lead glazes can poison both makers and users of pots alike. Copper oxide, was particularly dangerous as it upset the chemical stability of the glaze and caused lead to leach out. The silvery iridescence on this dog is partly the result of the unstable glaze, but has been exacerbated by burial conditions and is a characteristic feature of Han dynasty green mortuary wares.
related_museum_numbers
rights
3
shape
site_code
VA
slug
figure
sys_updated
2014-07-31T00:00:00.000Z
techniques
glazed
title
updated
vanda_exhibition_history
year_end
220
year_start
25