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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

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Accession Number



Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
earthenware with lead glaze

15 9/16 in x 13 in x 11 13/16 in (39.53 cm x 33.02 cm x 30 cm);15 9/16 in x 13 in x 11 13/16 in (39.53 cm x 33.02 cm x 30 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.

Label copy
High-fired glazed earthenware emerged in China in the late Zhou dynasty around 500 BCE to 400 BCE and were modeled on more elite and expensive vessels made in bronze. The shape of these two jars is based on a popular bronze wine container of an earlier period known as hu in Chinese. The shape is elegant, with flaring dish-like mouth, tall narrow neck, wide sloping shoulder, and a swelling bulbous body tapering to a solid base. The applied pierced knob on top of the covered hu and taotie “animal mask” handles with non-functional rings on the coverless hu (1993/1.83) were borrowed directly from bronze art, as were the double and triple “bowstrings” that circle the body and mouth area of the vessels. The metallic-looking green glazes of these jars, further strengthening the resemblance to bronze, resulted from using lead silicate with the addition of copper oxide as the colorant. Both vessels are believed to be mortuary objects.
(Label for UMMA Chinese Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject matter
Red earthenware hu (壺) jar for storing "wine," or rather millet ale; the shape and green glaze is in imitation of bronze forms. The two animal mask (taotie 饕餮) holding rings serving as decorative handles, reflect contemporary bronze doorknockers.  These types of jars were made in abundance as funerary storage vessels to supply for the afterlife, and have been found in the tombs of both middle and elite classes of Han citizens. 

Physical Description
Red earthenware tall jar with bulbous body, tall, curved flaring neck with flaring and articulated dish-shaped rim, and tall straight foot ring.  There are appliqué bowstring bands around the body and rim, and two animal mask decorations in low relief holding rings on opposing sides of the belly.  It is covered in a dark green lead glaze with iridescence and calcification.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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ceramic (material)
grave goods
lead glaze

& Author Notes

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