Cooking Stove

Accession Number

Cooking Stove


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
25 -220

Medium & Support
earthenware with lead glaze

4 5/16 in x 5 7/16 in x 5 7/16 in (11 cm x 13.8 cm x 13.8 cm);7 7/8 in (20 cm);7 7/8 in (20 cm);5 11/16 in (14.4 cm)

Credit Line
The Oliver J. Todd Memorial Collection

Label copy
These small models accurately represent the cooking utensils used by Chinese people two thousand years ago. In some rural areas, similar utensils are still in use today.

Subject matter
By the Western Han dynasty, basic household bowls, plates, basins, jars, etc. were produced in great quantity, not only for use in daily life, but also specifically for tombs as mingqi (明器), literally "bright objects", or grave goods, as a way to provide for the deceased. These mingqi included everything one would need during the afterlife, naturally, these objects reflected daily life during the Han. Mingqi could include houses, towers, gates, granaries, livestock pens, chicken coops, wells, cooking stoves, storage vessels, dishes, incense burners, lamps and figures such as horses, dogs, anthropomorphic animals, and people such as officials, guardians, servants and entertainers, and more. The number of ceramic mingqi items in a tomb could reach numbers of a few to several hundred objects. This miniature model of a stove would have been widely used by almost every stratum of society. The three supports at the top would hold a bowl over the top of a fire in the bottom of this stove, ventilated and fed through the round pierced hole in the lower side of the wall. 

Physical Description
A red earthenware, small, flat-bottomed pot with narrow base and wide bulbous neck with three protrusions at the rim, a large circular hole pierced into the side of the lower body, covered in a green lead glaze with iridescence and calcification. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
funerary sculpture

Collection Area

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ceramic (material)
ceramics (object genre)
grave goods
lead glaze
stoves (heating equipment)
vessels (containers)

7 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Death and Dying
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Grief and Mourning Rituals
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Heavens, Hells, and Afterlives
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Cabinet F: Shelf 3
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 2nd floor ➜ 205 (Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery) ➜ Cabinet F ➜ Shelf 3