Han Material Culture is an analysis of Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) Chinese archaeology based on a comparison of the forms of vessels found in positively dated tombs. The resultant chronological framework allows for the cross dating of tombs across China, of which approximately one thousand are documented here. In the context of this body of data, the development of not only vessel types but also tomb structure and decor is reevaluated, together with the pervasive intercultural exchange visible in all areas of this material. The Han dynasty emerges as a creative, surprisingly open society, heir to the Bronze Age and herald of what might be called the Age of Ceramics.
Sophia-Karin Psarras is an independent scholar specializing in the political history and the archaeology of Han dynasty China (circa 206 BC-AD 220) and of contemporaneous non-Chinese cultures. Her work has appeared in such journals as Monumenta Serica, Early China, Dialogues d'histoire ancienne, and Artibus Asiae. Of particular importance in her research is the exploration of interregional relations within Han China and of China's international relations, not only with its immediate neighbors but also with territories extending through India and Central Asia to the classical West.
1. Problems of chronology; 2. The tombs; 3. Tomb decor; 4. Vessels in the typologies; 5. Conclusion.