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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Vessel in the form of a mythical beast
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 晋 越窯青瓷神獸形插器
Work Type
3rd-4th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Zhejiang Province, Shaoxing
Jin dynasty, 266-420
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Yue ware: stoneware with celadon glaze
H. 10.8 x W. 9.5 x Diam. 10.5 cm (4 1/4 x 3 3/4 x 4 1/8 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
[Eskenazi Ltd., London, April 1999] 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 the Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane Fund for Asian Art
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Small hollow container of uncertain function with tubular opening and body in the form of a seated mythical beast of ferocious appearance: large, bulging eyes, flared nostrils, open mouth, pointed fangs, and protruding tongue; his body squat and rotund; four limbs slender, rope-like, and bent, the beast’s proper right paw bearing a segmented fruit resembling a melon, resting on his knee; light gray stoneware with olive-green celadon glaze over incised, molded, gouged, and applique decoration; glaze appears to have been wiped away from the slightly concave base before firing. From the Yue kilns in the Shaoxing area of northeastern Zhejiang province.

Samples taken from the base of this vessel were thermoluminescence (TL) tested at Oxford Authentication Ltd. in March 1999 and determined to be consistent with the suggested period of manufacture.
Compare to:
(1) Celadon jar in the form of a mythical beast with similar bulging eyes, fanged open mouth, and rope-like limbs excavated from a Western Jin (266-317 CE) tomb dated to 302 at Zhoumudun, Yixing, Jiangsu province, now in the Nanjing Museum. 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. 82, pp. 102 and 258.
(2) Celadon vessel in the form of a bear in similar crouched position and with a rounded fruit in its proper right hand excavated in 1966 from a Western Jin tomb in Molingguan, Jiangning, Jiangsu province, now in the Nanjing Museum. See ibid., no. 70, pp. 92 and 254.
(3) Celadon jar in the form of a mythical beast in similar crouched position and grasping segmented melons in each hand attributed to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 CE) in the East Zhejiang Yue Ware Museum collection. See Beijing daxue Zhongguo kaogu yanjiu zhongxin [Chinese Archaeology Research Center, Peking University], Die cui : Zhedong yueyao qingci bowuguan zang qingci jingpin [Vibrant Greens: Celadon Glazes over Two Millennia: Masterpieces from the East Zhejiang Museum of Yue Celadon ware] (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2013), no. 30, pp. 202-05.

Publication History

  • Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Ceramics, Exhibition and Sales Catalogue, 23 March–3 April 1999, auct. cat., Eskenazi Ltd. (New York, 1999), no. 10

Exhibition History

Subjects and Contexts

  • Sedgwick Collection

Related Media

Verification Level

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