Encyclopedia Article


A hollow container similar to a vase, covered with a lid, which is often used as both a decorative piece and a receptacle. The term urn usually refers to funerary vases used for containing the ashes of a deceased after cremation, but it can also indicate a vessel for serving liquid, especially tea (such as a samovar). Urns are made ouf of a variety of materials such as clay, silver, or brass.

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The largest silver urn in the world, Jaipur, India, image taken March 11, 2008 by snikrap, is licensed under CC BY.

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