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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Covered reliquary jar and stand
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 唐 彩繪陶塔形蓋罐
Ritual Implements
Work Type
7th-8th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Henan province, Gongxian
Tang dynasty, 618-907
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Earthenware with traces of cold painted pigments
H. 59.3 x Diam. 24.9 x W. 25.8 cm (23 3/8 x 9 13/16 x 10 3/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
[Christian Boehm Oriental Art, London, 2000] sold; to Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation, Woodside, CA (2000-2006), 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 Alpheus Hyatt Purchasing Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Buddhist reliquary consisting of three parts: pedestal stand, jar, and lid. The lower portion of the stand is bell-shaped, with sides flaring outward toward the flat base and constricting inward at top; a bowl-like receptacle with edges in the form of lotus petals crowns the top of the hollow stand; molded floral appliques and traces of floral designs painted in black pigment encircle the pedestal base; heads of makara creatures bearing pearls in their mouths encircle the join between pedestal and receptacle. The ovoid jar has broad, rounded shoulders, sides tapering inward to a flat base, short neck, and flat, everted rim; two incised horizontal lines encircle the jar along the shoulders and form a band that encloses four molded lion-head appliques. The circular lid is steeply domed and bears a stupa-form finial. All three are white earthenware with traces of orange pigment; one of the lion heads has an accidental spot of bright green glaze.
Compare to:
(1) White glazed reliquary jar of closely related form with identical molded lion-head appliques and very similar domed lid with stupa-form finial excavated in 1993 from a Tang dynasty tomb in Gongyi, Henan province, now in the Henan Museum. See Zhongguo chutu ciqi quanji [Complete Collection of Chinese Ceramics Unearthed in China], vol. 12: Henan (Beijing: Kexue chubanshe, 2008), no. 91.
(2) Two cold-painted earthenware reliquary jars and stands of closely related form, the stands with virtually identical makara heads excavated in 1992 from Tang dynasty tomb M5 at the Beiyaowan cemetery near Gongyi, Henan province. See Kaogu xuebao [Acta Archaeologica Sinica] 3 (1996): pl. 19.4 and p. 383, fig. 25.5-6.
(3) Domed lid with very similar stupa-form finial and reliquary stand with virtually identical petalled receptacle excavated in 1992 from Tang dynasty tomb M3 at the Beiyaowan cemetery near Gongyi, Henan province. See Kaogu xuebao [Acta Archaeologica Sinica] 3 (1996): pl. 12.1 and p. 377, fig. 14.2-3.
(4) Sancai reliquary jar on a lotus pedestal with similarly shaped jar and stupa-form lid excavated in 1959 from a Tang dynasty tomb at Zhongbao village, Xi’an, Shaanxi province, now in the Shaanxi History Museum. See Zhongguo taoci quanji [The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics], vol. 6: Tang, Wudai [Tang and Five Dynasties period] (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 128, pp. 132 and 245.

Subjects and Contexts

  • Sedgwick Collection

Verification Level

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