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Model of a well-head


Artwork Details

Model of a well-head
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)
Gift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.

On Display

Not currently on display


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. 

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