THREE LEGGED EARTHENWARE JAR (“LI”)
Neolithic period (ca. 5000 - 2000 BCE)
15 cm high
Description: The tripods “Li” (鬲) appeared in China as early as the Neolithic period. Judging from the black burn areas on the surface, they were used as cooking vessels heated directly on the fire. As the food or soup can be cooked in the hollow legs, this makes the heat transfer easier. The surface of the legs have linear impressions as decorations while the rim and the parts in between the legs have the elegantly made wavy folds. Two handles are attached to the sides of the legs and only one nipple shaped button is placed in the symmetric line of the tripod. One theory on how this kind of early tripod was produced without using a mould indicates that three amphoras were made as legs and then joined together. This tripod is the precursor of the later three-legged bronze vessels seen in the Shang dynasty.
Provenance: A British collection
Reference: For a similar jar of this type but larger, see the exhibition at Compton Verney