A bronze ‘hu’ vase inlaid with silver and gold
Ming dynasty, 17th century, China
Height: 43.5 cm, 17 inches
The archaistic hu is of flattened pear-shaped form – standing on a waisted foot with flaring mouth, and flanked by cylindrical tubular handles. The decoration on the main body consists of raised intertwined straps in the form of swirls – the design bordered around the neck and foot by a single wide band containing a pattern of swirls. The raised areas are inlaid with scrolling silver wire and contrasting areas of broader infill, in gold and silver geometric forms. The vase is patinated to a mottled dark brown with simulated malachite encrustations.