Title:Cocoon-shaped JarArtist:Artist UnknownDate:3rd-early 2nd century B.C.Creation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:Gift of Ellen and Fred WellsAccession Number:95.40
Silk production, from the rearing of silkworms to weaving silk cloth, was an important source of income to Chinese farming families. This type of jar with its elegant cocoon shape was extremely popular during the Chin (221-206 b.c.) and Western Han periods (206 b.c.-a.d. 25). Plain grey earthenware was often painted during Han. The colors used were red, brown, green, yellow, black, white, orange, and blue. Jars like this may have been used in the ritual practices of sericulture as the rearing of silkworms was fraught with superstitions during the Han period.