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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. 40.3 x Diam. 38.7 cm (15 7/8 x 15 1/4 in.)
[J.J. Lally & Co., New York, May 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
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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 four large round cartouches containing rings of dotted circles surrounding a smaller circle of crosshatching. Majiayao culture, Machang type. From the upper Yellow River valley region; Gansu, Qinghai, or Ningxia province.
Compare to:
(1) Jar of same form with similar bichrome painted design excavated in 1956 from a Machang site in Chujialing, Yongjing county, Gansu province, now at the Gansu Provincial Museum. See Zhongguo taoci quanji (The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics), vol. 1: Xinshiqi shidai (Neolithic period) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2000), no. 119, pp. 149 and 286.
(2) Jar of same form with similar proportions and closely related bichrome painted design excavated in 1975 from a Machang site in Liuwan, Ledu, Qinghai province. See Qinghai caitao [Painted Pottery from Qinghai] (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 1980), no. 52, p. 12.
Exhibition History

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

Earthly Delights: 6,000 Years of Asian Ceramics, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2022 - 08/14/2022

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