China / Central watchtower, architectural model / 1st?early 3rd centuryChina
Central watchtower, architectural model
1st?early 3rd century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: China
Title: Central watchtower, architectural model
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 1
Creation End Date: 233
Creation Date: 1st?early 3rd century
Creation Place: China
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Earthenware with green lead glaze
Dimensions: H. 41 in. (104.1 cm)

The Han dynasty (206 B.C.?220 A.D.) established China's lasting model of imperial order and imposed a new national consciousness that survives today among the Chinese, who still refer to themselves as the "Han people." The most important manifestation of Han imperial order was architecture: vast palatial complexes, towered gateways, and city walls were built as symbols of power and prestige as well as for defense .

This glazed ceramic model of a watchtower shows all the essential features of Han architecture. The basic unit is an enclosure defined by four corner piers with a widely overhanging tile roof supported by a system of cantilevered brackets. In addition, the house has a second roof over the first story, which is elevated on a stepped platform; an exterior staircase; elaborate latticework screens that shield the third story; and a circular central window on the top floor.

A great variety of architectural models were placed in Han tombs for use in the afterlife. This imposing mansion symbolizes the high status of the person buried in the tomb. Stylistically, the date and northern Chinese provenance of this house are confirmed by a number of archaeologically excavated pieces, most notably a green-glazed model of a four-story tower discovered in an Eastern Han tomb in Gaotang County, eastern Shandong Province.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1984.397ab
Credit Line: Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. John C. Weber Gift, 1984
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art . All rights reserved.
Style or Period: Eastern Han dynasty (25?220)
AMICA ID: MMA_.1984.397ab
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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