A good-sized Chinese Neolithic earthenware storage jar.
Rising from a narrow base, the vessel reaches its greatest girth slightly below its centre, where two small handles have been attached at the base of the main design. The neck is relatively short and straight and ends in a slightly flaring lip and wide mouth. The artist has applied a complex horizontal pattern of decoration in alternating bands around the upper body, with a larger band of crisscross pattern around the neck and diagonal stripes around the waist. The lower body is left undecorated.
Date: Circa 2600–2300 BC Period: Banshan phase of the Neolithic Gansu Yangshao culture Condition: Fine condition; repair to the lip; otherwise complete and intact; very slight fading to the painted decoration.
The first ceramics produced in China around ten or eleven thousand years ago were wares designed for use, and this early role for basic pottery has never diminished. However in neolithic times thin-walled, painted, and burnished earthenwares, some of intricate shapes were being used as ritual vessels in various Neolithic cultures located along the Yellow and Yangtze river valleys.
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