Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Broad-shouldered jar
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 馬家窯文化馬厰類型 彩陶壺
Work Type
Machang phase, c. 2300-2000 BCE
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Neolithic period, Majiayao culture, c. 3300-2000 BCE
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Earthenware with bichrome slip-painted decoration
H. 41.2 x W. (across handles) 43.1 x Diam. 41.4 cm (16 1/4 x 16 15/16 x 16 5/16 in.)
[J.J. Lally & Co., New York, 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 Alpheus Hyatt Purchasing Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Ovoid jar with short neck, broad rounded shoulders, sides tapering inward to a small, flat base, and two strap lug handles positioned bilaterally below the shoulder; buff earthenware with geometric decoration painted in black and burgundy slips; decoration around the shoulders includes designs of stylized headless anthropomorphic figures alternating with round cartouches of crosshatched patterns. Majiayao culture, Machang type. From the upper Yellow River valley region; Gansu, Qinghai, or Ningxia province.
Compare to:
(1) Jar of same form with very similar designs painted in black excavated from a Machang site in Liuwan, Ledu, Qinghai province. See Yang Xiaoneng, Chinese Archaeology: New Perspectives on China’s Ancient Past in the Twentieth Century, vol. 2 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press), 74-75, fig. 28b.
(2) Jar of same form with similar bichrome painted design excavated in 1977 from a Machang site in Sanjia, Minhe county, Qinghai province, now at the Qinghai Painted Pottery Research Center. See Zhongguo taoci quanji (The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics), vol. 1: Xinshiqi shidai (Neolithic period) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 121, pp. 151 and 287.
(3) Jar of same form with similar bichrome painted design excavated in Gansu, now at the Gansu Provincial Museum. See ibid., no. 141, pp. 165 and 293.
Exhibition History

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