Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Amphora with pointed base
Other Titles
Original Language Title: 仰韶文化 半坡類型 陶 尖底雙耳瓶
Work Type
Banpo phase, c. 5000-4000 BCE
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Shaanxi province
Neolithic period, Yangshao culture, c. 5000-3000 BCE
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Earthenware with impressed decoration
H. 37 x W. (across handles) 24 cm (14 9/16 x 9 7/16 in.)
[J.J. Lally & Co., New York, September 1998] sold; to Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation, Woodside, CA (1998-2006), 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
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.
Inverted tear-drop-shaped vessel with cupped mouth, short neck, broad, rounded shoulders, sides tapering inward to a pointed base, and two loop handles just below shoulders; red earthenware, the upper half cord-marked (i.e., textured with impressions created by a cord-wrapped implement tapped against the moist clay before firing. Early Yangshao culture, Banpo type.

Vessels of this form—with small mouths, pointed bases, and bilateral loop handles—were used to collect and carry water and were produced in abundance during the middle and late Neolithic period in the middle Yellow River valley region.

A sample taken from the base of this vessel was thermoluminescence (TL) tested at Oxford Authentication Ltd. in September 1998 and determined to be consistent with the suggested period of manufacture.
Compare to:
(1) Small amphora with similar rounded shoulders excavated in 1975 from a Banpo site in Jiangzhai, Lintong county, Shaanxi province, now in the Shaanxi History Museum. See Zhongguo taoci quanji [The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics], vol. 1: Xinshiqi shidai [Neolithic period] (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 17, pp. 66 and 252.
(2) Amphora with similar cupped mouth and textured surface excavated in 1972 from a Banpo site in Jiangzhai, Lintong county, Shaanxi province, now in the National History Museum, Beijing. See ibid., no. 16, p. 65 and p. 252; and Kaogu 3 (1973): 144, fig. 17.2, and pl. 2.
(3) Small amphora excavated from Banpo village, Xi’an, Shaanxi province, now in the British Museum. See Sheila Vainker, Chinese Pottery and Porcelain (London: British Museum, 1991), 13, fig. 1 (left).
Publication History

Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg, Amphore Métaphore, exh. cat., Musée du Verre (Conches-en-Ouche, 2022), pp. 98-99, ill.; pp. 109, 120

Exhibition History

Prehistoric Pottery from Northwest China, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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