Note: I have now asked this question on the History Stack Exchange also.

There are at least 33 types of ancient sacrificial, wine, food and water ritual bronze vessels of ancient China, none of which are named 壺.

According to my research the ancient Tang 壺 was a wine vessel (12 types of wine vessels listed above). But seeing as there are so many very precise different kind of ancient vessels, I want to know exactly which one the ancient Tang 壺 is and what it looks like.


For example, I came across this Pot titled 鎏金银嵌宝仿唐壶:

enter image description here

This imitation 唐壶 is very different from the ones posted in the answer below, and on the link I provided before I see that the long spout was a later addition to the pot that was not common previously. So I don't know the EXACT range of styles that the word 壺 encompasses in the Tang Dynasty era.

Also, whereas I want to know the full range of what a 壺 encompasses in the Tang era, I'm particularly interested in the finer 壺 made of jade or gold or etc.


enter image description here

This is a picture of a late 11th century BC altar set of wine vessels (Western Zhou Dynasty, long before the Tang Dynasty, kept at "the Met"). The central vessel is a Zun (尊/樽/鐏), and there are many different kinds of wine vessels including the 斝 and 爵 here pictured. Would all these classify as “壺”, or would some of them only be 杯? I need to know which ones would classify under the “壺” category and which ones wouldn't. Certainly the Zun was still in use during the Tang Dynasty until at least the Song, but would it count as a “壺”?


1 Answer 1


doesn’t a google images search of “故宮” + “館藏” + “唐代” + “壺“ suit your need?

it would be something like these:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

ok, these three are “執壺” (a 壺 with handle & spout)


the photo provided in the update, is an “imitation” (仿), made in 20th century. imo, it’s “un-han-chinese”, and is more suitable to be classified as “container” (罐).

want to know the full range of what a 壺 encompasses in the Tang era

well. “壺” is a category name, like “cat”, “cake”.

so, listing all cat breeds, or all different types of cakes, is an enormous task.

have fun :)

  • Question updated again. Also: there are 36 species of cat, and the link I provided describes 12 kinds of wine vessel; not an enormous list. Trying to figure out which of the 12 fit under the category “壺”, and if any other wine vessels besides these 12 would fit under that category. For example: I think 斝 and 爵 would classify under "杯" rather then “壺”. Also: I don't know if that imitation pot is un-Han-Chinese or if it's an exact imitation of a known Tang dynasty Han-Chinese pot used, for example, by the nobility.
    – Johan88
    Mar 2, 2020 at 8:28

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