漢 1世紀 Han dynasty 1th century
This vessel has a small mouth, a garlic head shape, a thin neck, a spherical belly, and a high ring foot. It was originally made in the Western Han Dynasty. After it was spread to Japan, tea men added black lacquer to the belly gasket of the utensil to highlight the texture, polished and added raw lacquer and gold-like things to make the overall leather shell look like Xuande furnace’s golden skin rich in layers. It is meaningful in history and inheritance, full of ingenuity.
Among the Chinese bronzes collected in Japan, there are traces of lacquer coating on some high-grade objects. From the research of Pf. Xu Yahui, she mentioned that Japanese bronzes often own unique grinding marks due to smoothed could let antiques be appreciated better. In Karamono Tea Caddies, raw lacquer is often used to repair. In order to make utensils shiny, the whole Karamono Tea Caddies will be covered with raw lacquer. Based on the above, we could know Japanese tea men would transform utensils’ surface layer for aesthetics sake.
The garlic head vessel was popular from the late Warring States period to the middle period of the Western Han Dynasty. As one of the representative artifacts of Qin culture, the techniques of making garlic head vessel spread with wars during Qin’s conquering tour, still used in the Western Han Dynasty, but the shapes were slightly different.The garlic head vessel in the Qin Dynasty had a slightly rounded belly, and in the early Western Han Dynasty, the belly became flat and oblate. The Han Dynasty garlic head vessels found so far basically belong to the middle and early Western Han Dynasty.