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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Amphora with flat base
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 仰韶文化苗底溝類型 陶平底瓶
Work Type
Miaodigou phase, c. 4000-3500 BCE
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Neolithic period, Yangshao culture, c. 5000-3000 BCE
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Earthenware with incised and combed decoration
H. 59.8 x W. 25 (across handles) x Diam. 20.5 cm (23 9/16 x 9 13/16 x 8 1/16 in.)
[The Chinese Porcelain Company, New York, 2002] sold; to Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation, Woodside, CA (2002-2006), 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 a fund established by Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane for the purchase of Asian art
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Tall, elongated vessel with small, bell-shaped mouth, narrow neck, sloping shoulders, slightly rounded midsection, sides tapering inward to a flat, circular base, and two strap handles forming loops just below shoulders; reddish buff earthenware textured with abstract linear designs from neck to foot, created by combing and scraping the moist clay surface before firing; mottled with dark patches. Yangshao culture, Miaodigou type. From the upper or middle Yellow River valley regions, possibly Shaanxi or eastern Gansu province.
Compare to:
(1) Amphora of virtually identical shape and decor excavated from a Miaodigou site in Yangguanzhai, outside of Xi’an Shaanxi province. See Kaogu yu wenwu [Archaeology and Cultural Relics] 6 (2011): 21-22, fig. 12.4.
(2) Amphora of very similar shape and decor excavated in Quanhucun, Huanxian county, Shaanxi province. See Kaogu xuebao [Acta Archaeologlca Sinica] 1 (1965): 65, fig. 10.1.
(3) Cord-marked amphora excavated in Dadiwan, Qin’an county, Gansu province. See Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan, Kaogu yanjiusuo [Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences], Qin’an Dadiwan: Xinshiqi shidai yizhi fajue baogao [Dadiwan in Qin'an: Report on Excavations at a Neolithic Site], vol. 2 (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2006), CCVI, pl. 2.
(4) Cord-marked amphora with similarly narrow proportions and narrow mouth opening but with pointed base excavated from a site in Shizhaocun, Tianshui, Gansu province. See Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan, Kaogu yanjiusuo [Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences], Shizhaocun yu Xishanping, (Beijing: Zhongguo dabaike quanshu chubanshe, 1999), 31, fig. 20 and pl. 8.3.
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