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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

Appreciation and distribution of Chinese lacquerware across the Eurasian hemisphere – from Korea to Crimea (3rd century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D)


Margarete Prüch, Heidelberg University

Date and Time

2 March 2022, 15:00–16:00 CET

Location (online and on-site)

To attend online via Zoom, please register by submitting the registration form.

The lecture will also be held as an on-site event: University of Zurich, Room SOD-1-104, Schönberggasse 9, 8001 Zürich


Research project «Sino-Indo-Iranica rediviva», Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Chinese Studies


Throughout the 3rd century B.C.E. to the 3rd century C.E. approximately, mainly during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E. -220 C.E.), lacquer ware was highly appreciated within China and notably beyond the Chinese borders. Findings within the Eurasian hemisphere testify to the fact that lacquered food and drinking vessels as well as small boxes were regarded as valuable and luxury commodities or gifts.

Lacquer objects on the Korean peninsula come from excavations of tombs from the Han dynastic commandery Lelang (todays Pyeongyang, North Korea) and bear testimony to the most eastern distribution of these precious Chinese goods. On the other hand, the discovery of fragments of Chinese lacquer boxes from the excavation of Scythian–Sarmatian tombs on the Crimean Peninsula caused a sensation, as they were the most western findings of this kind so far. They had travelled to the Black Sea region over a distance of approximately 6000 km.

The talk will shed light on the lacquer production within the Chinese territory and the spread of lacquer ware to the East and the West.