Chicken-headed ewer


A round bodied chicken-headed ewer (tianji hu) that tapers toward the flat unglazed base. An arched handle rises from the sholder to the top of the wide lip of the central neck. Opposite the handle rises a spout in the shape of a chicken-head with applied beads of clay as eyes and wattles, and an upright comb at the top. A single scored band rings the shoulder from the base of spout the the handle. Set on the band at opposite sides are two square-cut horizontal lug handles. Made of a gray clay with a high-fire yellow-green glaze. This type of chicken-headed ewer has often been found in tombs in South China, and continued to be popular into the Sui dynasty. On the basis of excavated examples this vessel type developed from squat jars with chicken heads and tails in the late 3rd–early 4th century to tall jars with elaborate decoration, such as dragon handles, in the 5th–6th century.