Cocoon-shaped Hu (繭式壺)
Western Han Dynasty, 206 BC–AD 8
Height: 32 cm, body circumference: 98.8 cm
National Palace Museum, Taipei
This piece of black pottery has a body in the shape of a silkworm cocoon. The outer surface of the vessel is decorated with multiple sets of parallel lines, in between which are engraved ninety characters of a poem written by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736–1795). The vessel was originally used for storing alcoholic beverages.