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Green lead glazed Han figure

This is probably an Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) incense burner or an oil lamp. Candle stick? Ok, I have never figured out which.

Anyway, during the later (Eastern) Han dynasty, the Confucian ideals of restraint in and after life, promoted the replacement of expensive bronze vessels with pottery and made green lead glaze imitating old bronze the preferred material.

The green lead glaze seems to have come into China from the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean area by way of the Arabs trading to Canton.

For the authenticity, it is important that the lead glaze seems to have split itself into thin fish scale like layers of a glittering crazing. The pottery should be surprisingly lightweight and of a brick red color. The color do depend on the firing condition and can vary to tan or gray. The lead glaze could at the same time vary to clear or copper red brown - which is as it should, since the coloring agent is, copper.

Some damages and repairs are to be expected since this type of pottery was never intended to be handled, and are very brittle.

Jan-Erik Nilsson