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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.