Neolithic Chinese Painted Earthenware Jar

£ 750.00

A Neolithic Chinese earthenware painted jar, dated to the Banpo phase of the Yangshao culture (5000-3000 BC). The vessel features a globular body tapering into a short, squat neck with an everted, folded rim, and a rounded base. Dark-pigmented geometric patterns decorate the rim, with the blank space resembling the sun. The front of the body is embellished with a symmetrical mask design of a beast, possibly a tiger, featuring a broad and elongated nose, and sharp teeth represented by five chevrons framed by a rectangle. The crescent-shaped eyes and wide open mouth with raised cheeks depict a radiant smile. The motif is further enriched with three stripes, extended above each eye from the nose and curve downwards to back of the mouth. The stripes join as one, forming a half encircling band, at the lower back of the jar’s body.

Date: Circa 4700 - 3600 BC
Period: Neolithic Period, Banpo Phase of Yangshao Culture
Provenance: From a collection of a west county gentleman, formerly from a specialist oriental ceramics gallery, Bath 1990's
Condition: Fine condition. Rim is chipped on the right. Slight scratches to the surface.

In stock

Earthenware vessels were modelled by hand until the middle of the Neolithic period. These vessels were modelled through a coiling process, involving thick ropes of clay being rolled out and then coiled on top of one another in order to give the vessel the desired profile. The joins of the coils were then smoothed down in order to remove the visibility of the ridges between the original layers. The vessel was then moulded into its final shape with a paddle and anvil, a support held against the inside of the vessel, while the exterior was beaten until the surface was smooth. Close inspection of Yangshao earthenware shows no ridges nor paddle marks – showcasing the neat and delicate work of the civilisation. The vessels were then finished by scraping and burnishing, with some occasionally followed by painting and further burnishing. The delicate brushstroke patterns are generally along the top two-thirds of the vessel, they typically represent wave or net designs, as most communities of the time settled near and were dependant on rivers and fish. Whilst earlier uses of ceramics in China centred around practical uses. The Neolithic thin-walled, painted, and burnished earthenwares and vessels, have been discovered in dwelling sites as well as burial sites located along the Yellow and Yangtze river valleys, highlighting their use for ritual purposes.

The Yangshao Culture was a Neolithic culture that grew along the Yellow River from the 6th millennium BC and flourished mainly in the provinces of Henan, Shaanxi and Shanxi. Banpo phase represents the earlier part of the period. Well known for pottery craftsmanship, Yangshao artists created fine white, red, and black painted pottery with human facial, zoomorphic and geometric designs. This reflected their daily life of hunting, fishing, gathering and practicing primitive agriculture, possibly religious beliefs as well.

Weight 281 g
Dimensions L 8 x H 10 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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