Majang ware urn

Historical period(s)
Neolithic period, ca. 2000 BCE
Earthenware with painted decoration
Gansu ware
H x W x D: 24.5 x 21.2 x 21.2 cm (9 5/8 x 8 3/8 x 8 3/8 in)
China, Gansu province
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Anna C. Chennault
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


China, earthenware, Gansu ware, Neolithic period (ca. 7000 - ca. 1700 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

By the time this earthenware vessel was made, Chinese potters had been shaping and firing clays for nearly two thousand years, a long-standing expertise reflected in the object's confident shapes and matching dynamic designs.  Burnished surfaces, like that on the storage urn, indicate special treatment and may reveal the unusual status of their owners.  As many as one hundred such earthenwares have been found in a single tomb, suggesting that Neolithic vessels shared similar functions and status as bronze vessels during the ensuing Bronze Age.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 2.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 18, p. 28.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 61.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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