Model of a well-head

Accession Number

Model of a well-head


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
earthenware with glaze

15 11/16 in x 7 7/8 in x 7 11/16 in (39.8 cm x 20 cm x 19.5 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.

Subject matter
This is a funerary sculpture in the form of a well-head, which are commonly found in Eastern Han tombs.

By the Western Han dynasty, basic household bowls, plates, basins, jars, and the like were produced in great quantity, not only for use in daily life but also specifically for tombs as mingqi (明器), literally "bright objects" as a way to provide for the deceased. As these mingqi included everything one would need during the afterlife, 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, and lamps; they were also figures such as horses, dogs, anthropomorphic animals, officials, guardians, servants, and entertainers. The number of ceramic mingqi items in a tomb could reach numbers of a few to several hundred objects.

Physical Description
This red earthenware model of a well-head is constructed from an upside-down, wheel-thrown bowl with a hole pierced in its base to create the opening for the well. Its wide rim creates the well-head's base, and a flat clay slab forms the framed opening and windlass. It is topped with a small hip and gabled roof pavilion, and a basin and amphora rest on the framing. The model is covered in a green lead glaze, with iridescence and calcification. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
funerary sculpture

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
architectural models
ceramic (material)
grave goods
lead glaze
water wells

4 Related Resources

Cabinet G: Shelf 1
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)
W21 Mueggler - ANTHRCUL 337 - Death, Dying, Afterlife
(Part of: Resources Made by Isabel Engel)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 2nd floor ➜ 205 (Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery) ➜ Cabinet G ➜ Shelf 1