Ma-Chang Type Majiayao Painted Jar

£ 500.00

An extremely fine Neolithic Chinese terracotta jar, dating to the Ma-Chang phase of the Majiayao culture. The vessel’s piriform body tapers in towards the flattened, circular base. The shoulders curve inwards leading to a short cylindrical neck with an out-splayed everted rim. Two small lug handles have been applied to the body, one now blocked. The piece has been further enriched with geometric patterns painted in a dark pigment. The upper body features six large circles, each decorated with cross hatching. A thick horizontal band sits above the design while six are painted below. Curved semi-circles frame the lower part of the pattern. Zig-zag motifs are visible across the neck and the inside of the rim features a circular design.

Date: Circa 2350-2050 BC
Period: Neolithic Period
Provenance: Acquired 1970s-1990s. Ex West Country collection.
Condition: Fine condition, minor scratches to the surface from age.

In stock

The Majiayao phase was one of the most significant, pre-historic cultures that flourished during Neolithic China. Vast amounts of pottery from this culture have been discovered, mostly from mortuary contexts, with distinct shapes and patterns. They are distinctively known for their iconic bulbous body shape and highly unified geometric patterns composed of spirals and swooping lines painted in contrasting dark red and black pigments. The manufacturing process of Majiayao painted pottery involved a unique technique, where long rods of clay were rolled out and then coiled round on top of one another in order to give the vessel the desired profile. Often the pots were made in two halves, with the top and bottom combined to form the large body. After the clay rods had been coiled, both the interior and the exterior walls of pottery were then smoothed and flattened, beaten by a paddle and anvil, thus creating an ideal silhouette. The Ma-chang phase was the last chronological stage of the Majiayao culture, dating from circa 2350 to 2050 BC, during which zoomorphic representations were introduced. These zoomorphic representations are either predominantly interpreted as a varied frogs or suggest that they might have been designed in imitation of a ritual costume worn by a shaman.

Weight 2750 g
Dimensions W 29 x H 32 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar items,The Metropolitan Museum, item 1992.165.8 and 1992.165.12

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