The basic aim of Confucianism, which was the official state cult in Imperial China, was and remains carrying out the duties and responsibilities appropriate to one’s position in society. Ancestor worship and reverence to family are fundamental elements of Confucianism. Rituals and ceremonies to honor ancestors must be performed in precise ways and when done properly, an individual can receive the aid, support and blessings of deceased relatives. Historically Taoism has been a link between Confucian beliefs and Popular Religion and folk traditions. Confucianism and Taoism both stress the importance of living in harmony with the “Way (Tao/ Dao) of Heaven.”

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  • Ancient Han Dynasty Cocoon Jar with Cloud Designs, China


    Cocoon jars were mingqi made for placement in tombs to comfort the deceased on their journey to the cosmos. An elixir of Immortality made from mulberry leaves or their ashes was placed inside for the deceased to drink and transmigrate into the world of the beyond like a butterfly. Ovoid in shape to resemble a silkworm cocoon, they rest on a small trumpet-shaped foot and have a narrow neck and a wide lip jutting outward at the mouth.  Painted after firing with vertical bands dividing it into panels, swirling cloud scrolls and circular “eye” motifs at each end, this beautiful vessel is in excellent condition for its age with expected paint losses, scrapes and adhesions of dirt.

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