A large dark green-glazed pottery watchtower

東漢  綠釉陶望樓

The tower rests in a circular basin representing a moat, complete with geese and turtles, and its construction is in two sections. The lower section consists of a pierced square column supporting a box-like room fitted with three ventilation grilles, perhaps a granary. B
ear-shaped caryatid figures attached to the sides of the "granary" support a square balcony on the rim of which stand three diminutive figures playing music. The upper section sits in the centre of the square and has two storeys, each with a wide roof, with ridges suggesting columns of roof-tiles, supported by dougong, the characteristic bracket seen in nearly all Chinese architecture. The top storey has a further square balcony with four cross-bows lined up on the rim, as if the owners had temporarily put them down. The whole tower is applied with green lead glaze of exceptionally good colour. 

Pottery models of watchtowers of this kind are one of the most characteristic products of the Han dynasty, and showed pronounced regional variations. This example is from Henan province.  

Unlike in the Tang dynasty, when funerary figures seem to have served as much as proof of status as for any spiritual function, the Han funerary wares have a much more direct and homely nature, as if the afterlife were a simple continuation and must therefore be furnished with everything the deceased had while still living, like pigs, dogs, chickens, goats, farm buildings and as here watchtowers. In fact, the large watchtowers, while usually heavily defended, seem to have been more than simply defensive structures and probably represent a type of multi-storey fortified dwelling that existed in the Han dynasty. 

Dimensions: Height: 117cm, 46 inches

Date: Han dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD)

Stock No. 235

Price: On Request