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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Storage Jar
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 0
Creation End Date: 0
Creation Date: Neolithic period, Gansu Yangshao culture, Banshan type, c. 3rd-2nd millenium BCE
Creation Place: China, Gansu or Qinghai Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Earthenware painted with red and black slips
Dimensions: H. 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm); D. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm) without handles
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.125
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: Ceramic vessels are associated with most of China's Neolithic civilizations. The most striking and numerous are those produced by the Yangshao culture, which flourished in north-central and northwest China c. 5000-500 BCE. The Yangshao culture is generally divided into six phases, each of which is named for an archaeological site and characterized by the creation of earthenwares painted in shades of black, red, and brown. The shapes and decorations of these ceramics vary from phase to phase. The density and complexity of the decoration painted on this large storage jar are characteristic of ceramics produced during the Gansu Yangshao (c. 3000-1500 BCE), which flourished in Gansu and Qinghai provinces in the northwest. The swirling curvilinear patterns decorating the upper half of the jar and the serrations along the edges of the lines used to paint these forms typify ceramics made during the Banshan phase of the Gansu Yangshao, generally dated to the early third millennium BCE.
Both decorated and undecorated ceramics such as this jar were used either as ritual objecgts or to show the high status of their owners. The two large lugs on either side of the jar may have been used for carrying, while the two smaller ones at the top could have helped to secure a cover. It has also been suggested that the lower half of such vessels were left unpainted so that they could be partially buried in the ground, providing some stability.
This enormous jar was made of earthenware using the coil method. Earthenware is a coarse and somewhat grainy clay fired at a fairly low temperature. Vessels made of it are rather fragile and fairly porous. Coiling is a method associated with only the earliest Chinese ceramics, as most later pieces were thrown on the wheel. During the Neolithic period, mats and other objects were used to turn and shape the clay. Designs were then painted on, and both the form and the decoration were burnished, or rubbed down, using a stone or some other implement. The design was painted with slip, a thin mixture of clay and water, and, in this instance, colored using mineral pigments.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, , p. 60.
Related Document Description: Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970, p. 332.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.125
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, Asia Society
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