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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2006.170.34
Title
Bird-shaped jar
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 馬家窯文化半山類型 彩陶鳥形壺
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
Banshan phase, c. 2650-2300 BCE
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Period
Neolithic period, Majiayao culture, c. 3300-2000 BCE
Culture
Chinese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/173146
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Earthenware with bichrome slip-painted decoration
Dimensions
H. 26.7 x W. (across handles) 35 x Diam. 32.6 cm (10 1/2 x 13 3/4 x 12 13/16 in.)
Provenance
[Kaikodo, New York, March 2001] sold; to Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation, Woodside, CA (2001-2006), partial gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2006.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Partial gift of the Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation and partial purchase through the Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane Fund for the Acquisition of Oriental Art
Accession Year
2006
Object Number
2006.170.34
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Compressed, wide-bodied jar with open mouth, bulbous, off-center neck, flattened shoulders, sides tapering inward to a small, flat base, two strap lug handles embellished with crimped appliques, and a small triangular tab below the shoulder, opposite the mouth and neck; buff earthenware lightly burnished and decorated with geometric designs painted in black and burgundy slips before firing; decoration on the shoulders includes four round cartouches of small checkerboard patterns. Majiayao culture, Machang type. From the upper Yellow River valley region; Gansu, Qinghai, or Ningxia province.

This type of jar is said to resemble a squat waterfowl, with the jar’s neck, lug handles, and tab representing a bird’s head, wings, and tail, respectively.
Commentary
Compare to:
(1) Jar of the same form with related bichrome painted design excavated in 1977 from a Banshan site in Lanzhou, Gansu province, now in the Gansu Museum. See Zhongguo taoci quanji (The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics), vol. 1: Xinshiqi shidai (Neolithic period) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 99, pp. 133 and 279.
(2) Jar of the same form with related bichrome painted design excavated in 1975 from a Banshan site in Hongchengsi, Yongjing county, Gansu province, now in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture Museum. See Zhang Pengchuan, Zhongguo caitao tu pu [Handbook of Illustrations of Chinese Painted Pottery] (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 1990), no. 653.
Publication History

Kaikodo Journal, Vol. 19 (Spring 2001), auct. cat., Kaikodo (New York), no. 67, pp. 186-187 and 333-334

Kaikodo Journal, Vol. 19 (Spring 2001), auct. cat. (New York, 2001), cat. no. 67, pp. 214-215 and 333-334

Exhibition History

Prehistoric Pottery from Northwest China, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu