Jar, Banshan or Machang type ware

Jar; medium size, thin-walled, hand-built; wide mouth, slightly everted lip with two strap handles extending to the bottom of the short neck; widest part of belly is placed low; sharp taper to small flat base which is slightly less than half the diameter of the mouth. Chips and repair as noted below.

Clay: light brownish red, fine-grained, hard, medium-fired, burnished smooth surface.

Glaze: none.

Decoration: Painted before firing in black and dark red of brownish and purplish tone. Area covered extends from inside mouth to within 3/4 cm. of base. Band inside mouth of alternate black and red triangles separated by triple lines and resting on plain black band. Handles have X with enclosed dots, neck a cross-hatch lattice pattern between two red bands. At top of body is a black border with a fine-toothed serrated edge. Depending from this is a swag pattern of broad black bands with serrated edges on the buff ground and with narrow separating red bands. The design is finished by a black band above the base. The fringed-edge bands, although once thought to occur only in funeral sites, have since been found on pottery from habitation sites.

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Historical period(s)
Neolithic period, ca. 2000 BCE
Medium
Earthenware clay, iron and manganese pigments
Style
Banshan or Machang type ware
Dimensions
H x W: 18.4 x 22 cm (7 1/4 x 8 11/16 in)
Geography
China, Gansu province
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1975.13
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Jar

Keywords
Banshan ware, China, earthenware, funerary, iron pigment, Machang ware, Neolithic period (ca. 7000 - ca. 1700 BCE)
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Jar; medium size, thin-walled, hand-built; wide mouth, slightly everted lip with two strap handles extending to the bottom of the short neck; widest part of belly is placed low; sharp taper to small flat base which is slightly less than half the diameter of the mouth. Chips and repair as noted below.

Clay: light brownish red, fine-grained, hard, medium-fired, burnished smooth surface.

Glaze: none.

Decoration: Painted before firing in black and dark red of brownish and purplish tone. Area covered extends from inside mouth to within 3/4 cm. of base. Band inside mouth of alternate black and red triangles separated by triple lines and resting on plain black band. Handles have X with enclosed dots, neck a cross-hatch lattice pattern between two red bands. At top of body is a black border with a fine-toothed serrated edge. Depending from this is a swag pattern of broad black bands with serrated edges on the buff ground and with narrow separating red bands. The design is finished by a black band above the base. The fringed-edge bands, although once thought to occur only in funeral sites, have since been found on pottery from habitation sites.

Label

By the time these earthenware vessels were made, Chinese potters had been shaping and firing clays for nearly two thousand years, a long-standing expertise reflected in the objects' confident shapes and matching dynamic designs.  Burnished surfaces, like that on the storage urn, indicate special treatment and may reveal the unusual status of their owners.  As many as one hundred such earthenwares have been found in a single tomb, suggesting that Neolithic vessels shared similar functions and status as bronze vessels during the ensuing Bronze Age.

Published References
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 17, p. 27.
  • Unknown title. vol. 30 New York and Honolulu, 1976-1977. p. 124, fig. 54.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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