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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Jar with lotus petal decor (lianhua zun)
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 北齊至隋 青瓷蓮花尊
Work Type
late 6th-early 7th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Northern Qi (550-577) to Sui (581-618) dynasty
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Stoneware with celadon glaze
H. 33.2 x Diam. 22 cm (13 1/16 x 8 11/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
[Christie's, New York, 23 September 1999, lot 272] sold; to Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation, Woodside, CA (1999-2006), 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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Elaborately decorated jar with trumpet-shaped mouth, cylindrical neck, ovoid body, and six loop handles at the juncture of the neck and shoulders; thick lotus-petal and five-leaf-palmette appliques encircle the shoulders, carved lotus petals with projecting tips and incised lotus petals decorate the lower portion of the body down to the foot; molded appliques of demon figures and flying apsarases encircle the neck; light gray stoneware with bluish-green celadon glaze over molded and applique elements. Place of manufacture uncertain, probably northern China.

Jars of this shape with ornate lotus-petal decoration are known as lianhua zun, or “lotus flower wine jars.” Archaeologically excavated lianhua zun with celadon glazes have emerged from aristocratic tombs in both northern and southern China, but they are generally believed to be products of northern China.
Compare to:
(1) Four celadon jars of closely related form but nearly twice the size excavated in 1948 from the Northern Qi (550-577) Feng Family Tombs in Jingxian, Hebei province; two vases are now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, the third in the Hebei Center for the Preservation of Cultural Relics, the fourth in the National Museum of China, Beijing. See report in Kaogu tongxun [Archaeology Bulletin] 3 (1957): 28-37, repr. Pl. 9.1. For individual images see Zhongguo chutu ciqi quanji [Complete Collection of Chinese Ceramics Unearthed in China], vol. 3: Hebei (Beijing: Kexue chubanshe, 2008), nos. 8-10; and Suzanne G. Valenstein, Cultural Convergence in the Northern Qi Period: A Flamboyant Chinese Ceramic Container (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007), 94, Fig. 4.
2) Two covered celadon jars of closely related form excavated in 1972 from a Liang dynasty (502-557) tomb at Qilinmen, Nanjing, Jiangsu province, now in the Nanjing Municipal Museum. See Zhongguo chutu ciqi quanji [Complete Collection of Chinese Ceramics Unearthed in China], vol. 7: Jiangsu Shanghai (Beijing: Kexue chubanshe, 2008), no. 61; and Willow Weilan Hai, ed., Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd-6th Centuries (New York: China Institute of America, 2016), cat. 36, pp. 264-65.
3) Covered celadon jar of similar form and decor excavated in 1983 from a sixth-century site in Shangcai county, Henan province, now in the National Museum of China, Beijing. See Zhongguo taoci quanji [The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics], vol. 4: Sanguo, liang Jin, nanbei chao [Three-Kingdoms, Western and Eastern Jin, Northern and Southern dynasties] (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 234, pp. 214 and 308.
4) Covered celadon jar of similar lotus form excavated in 1956 from a sixth-century tomb at Boyushan, Wuhan, Hubei province; now in the Hubei Provincial Museum. See ibid. no. 232, pp. 214 and 308.

Publication History

  • Fine Chinese Furniture, Ceramics, and Works of Art, auct. cat., Christie's, New York (New York, September 16, 1999), lot 272

Exhibition History

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Verification Level

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