Cylindrical Vessel with Cover (lian)

Historical period(s)
Han dynasty, 1st century BCE-1st century CE
Bronze with gilding
H x W x D: 13 x 13.4 x 13.6 cm (5 1/8 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: lian

China, Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)
Provenance research underway.

Gilded bronze containers of this type usually held a circular mirror, cosmetics, and toilet articles. While the designs cut into the exterior surface of the lian and its lid are clearly indebted to the inlay patterns of the preceding Eastern Zhou period (770-221 B.C.E.), their linear abstraction is characteristic of Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. -C.E. 220) aesthetic preferences.

Published References
  • America's Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years. Washington, 1996. .
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.