A green lead-glazed figure of a boar

东汉     绿釉陶公猪

The animal is modelled as if leaning slightly back, with the legs angled on each side of the low-slung belly.  The head is lowered, with large oval eyes set within folds, looking down to the upturned snout.  On the high shoulders grows a bristly mane, and on the hindquarters rests and curly tail.  A dark green glaze is applied overall, showing a silvery iridescence in places, except on the underside of the body and the feet, which are unglazed, showing the orangey-brown ware.

Priestley & Ferraro, 'Animals for the Afterlife', November 2002, no.10

For another example of a green-glazed boar, see The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics I , no, 52.

The importance of the pig in ancient China is well attested to by the burial of the heads or jaws of pigs in the graves of the Dawenkou people during Neolithic times; and by the appearance of pig representations in the culture of the Hemudu people.  Pork was the staple meat at this time.  During the Shang period, the pig - in its manifestation as a wild boar - appears as a shape suitable for a ritual bronze, for example the fine specimen in the Hunan Provincial Museum, illustrated in China 5000 Years, Innovation and Transformation in the Arts , no.27; and during the later part of the first millennium BC, the pig, again in the form of the boar, occurs in hunting scense.  But it is not until the Han dynasty that we see the pig again represented for its domestic importance, as a source of food.  We may be confident that the rea life counterpart of the present example, though a boar, was for the table, not the hunt.    

Dimensions: Length: 23cm, 9 inches

Date: Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD)

Stock No. 818

Price: On Request