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Lacquer Bathing Basin with Cloud Design

Western Han(206.BC-9AD)
Height: 13cm
Diameter of Mouth: 72.2cm
Excavated from Mawangdui Han Tomb No.3, Changsha City, Hunan Province in 1973

The bathing basin is covered with red lacquer in the interior and black in the exterior with vermilion and grey-green cloud design. The vermilion geometric bird-head patterns against black lacquer are painted along the interior and exterior rim of the mouth. The exterior bottom of the basin is inscribed with vermilion Chinese character “the house of the Marquise of Dai.”

The basin integrates the decorations of small lacquer ware and the shape features of large ware. Red cloud and dragon designs against black lacquer appear smooth and vivid. The glossy lacquer bathing basin with graceful and gorgeous decorations is a daily use appliance, which is well-preserved large and very unique.


Ancient Chinese people paid great attentions to personal hygiene. The ancient Chinese characters“盥”,“颒”,“沐” and “浴”separately mean “wash hands”, “wash face”,“wash hair”and “bath.” As early as Han Dynasty, People had the habit of washing hair every three days and having a bath every five days. They use rice water to wash their hands, hair, face and body, which is proved by modern science as good for skin.

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Lacquer-Painted Bronze Plate Excavated From the Han Tomb at the Luobowan, Gui County, Guangxi Province

Silver Plate Excavated From the Tomb of Western Han Nanyue King

Bronze Plate Excavated From the Tomb of Western Han Nanyue Ki