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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Basin with anthropomorphic handle
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 馬家窯文化馬家窯類型 彩陶盆
Work Type
Majiayao phase, c. 3300-2650 BCE
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Neolithic period, Majiayao culture, c. 3300-2000 BCE
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Earthenware with slip-painted decoration
H. 12.9 x W. (across handles) 19 x Diam. 15.2 cm (5 1/16 x 7 1/2 x 6 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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Bowl-shaped vessel with one handle rising vertically from the rim and terminating in a molded form resembling a human face; lower portion of vessel tapers inward to a flat base; buff earthenware lightly burnished and decorated with geometric designs painted in dark brown slip before firing; painted designs include a large lozenge shape with fishnet pattern, circles, dots, and undulating lines. Majiayao culture, Majiayao type. From the upper Yellow River valley region; Gansu, Qinghai, or Ningxia province.
Compare to:
(1) Bowl of similar form with closely related painted decor of circled dots and lines surrounding a lozenge shape with fishnet pattern excavated in 1966 from a Majiayao site at Wangbaobaocheng, Lanzhou, Gansu province, now in the Gansu Provincial Museum. See Zhongguo taoci quanji (The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics), vol. 1: Xinshiqi shidai (Neolithic period) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 55, pp. 99 and 265.
(2) Majiayao-type scoop of related form with human-headed handle from Gansu. See Zhang Pengchuan, Zhongguo caitao tu pu [Handbook of Chinese Painted Pottery Illustrations] (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 1990), no. 224.
Publication History

Transitory and Timeless: Ancient Chinese Pottery, auct. cat., The Chinese Porcelain Company (New York, 2002), no. 10, p. 16

Exhibition History

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/14/2016 - 04/18/2016

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