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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Mountain-form censer (boshanlu) with tortoise-form base
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 西漢 色釉陶龟座博山爐
Work Type
1st century BCE
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Han dynasty, Western Han period, 206 BCE-9 CE
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3620, University Study Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Earthenware with green and brown lead glazes
Lead glaze
H. 25.3 x Diam. 12 cm (9 15/16 x 4 3/4 in.)
[J.J. Lally & Co., New York, July 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 Alvan Clark Eastman Bequest Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Incense burner with conical lid in the form of a forested mountain, hemispherical bowl raised on a short stem, and base in the form of a tortoise with head turned back toward the stem; the cover pierced with small circular openings and molded decoration of human figures and mythical animals, including the legendary hare with mortar and pestle; the stem decorated with molded images of foreigners; red earthenware with lead-fluxed, emerald-green glaze on the cover and lead-fluxed, caramel-brown glaze on receptacle and base, the underside and interior of receptacle unglazed.
Compare to:
(1) Two-color lead-glazed boshanlu censer with green conical lid and an orange-brown tortoise-shaped base excavated in 1969 from a late Western Han brick tomb in Jiyuan county, Xinxiang city, Henan province. See Wenwu [Cultural Relics] 2 (1973): 51, fig. 10.
(2) Two-color lead-glazed boshanlu censer with green conical lid and orange-brown dish-form base excavated in 1993 from a late Western Han tomb in Ganquan county, Shaanxi province. See Wenwu [Cultural Relics] 5 (2010): 66, fig. 8.
Exhibition History

Earthly Delights: 6,000 Years of Asian Ceramics, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2022 - 08/14/2022

Related Media

3D Model: Two-Color-Glazed 'Boshanlu' Censer with Conical Cover in the Form of a Forested Mountain on which Appear a Hare with Mortar and Pestle, Human Figures, and Various Mythical Animals, the Lower Portion Set on a Stalk that Rises from the Back of a Tortoise, the Stalk Embellished with Molded Human Figures

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