Large Chinese Neolithic Longshan Culture Pottery Tripod with Oxford TL Test
This fine and very rare pottery vessel was made over 4,000 years ago. Although it is not always easy to identify which Neolithic culture some of the wide variety of ancient pottery tripods have come from, we believe this belongs to the early Longshan Culture (c. 2600 - 2000 BC). Its form is that of a cooking vessel. It has a large capacity, its three wide legs giving a large area for the heat to be transmitted from the fire to its contents. This vessel is relatively highly-fired, having a distinct "metallic-sounding" ring when tapped. Several techniques have been employed to provide decoration to this functional vessel. The surface of the wide rim has been burnished to a very smooth finish. Below this burnished band the whole of the outer surface has been repeatedly impressed with finely-woven cords. We believe that this serves not only as decoration, but also allows greater heat transference to the contents as it effectively increases the outer surface area. Applied on opposing sides at the waist are two short stubby handles, each with deep impressions. The most unusual decorative features, however, are the six burnished-smooth roundels that, from the indentations visible to the inner surface, were impressed onto the body whilst the clay was still soft. These roundels have been applied equidistant around the outer body "up, down, up, down".
Looking into the depths of each of the three legs inside the vessel can be seen spiral patterns; although clearly not intentionally decorative, they are interesting as this pattern was formed by the twisting of each foot into a point during manufacture. The inner surface is "pock-marked" in places, an effect not seen on the outer surface (although one foot does have an outer surface chip).
This superb vessel is in outstanding condition. There is no sign of any restoration or repair. It is a good size with a maximum diameter of 21 cm (8.25 inches), height 18.5 cm (7.25 inches). It is available to view at our gallery.
It has been in our private collection of Chinese Neolithic pottery for many years and not previously offered for sale. As with many of our finer pieces of ancient Chinese pottery, we have had this vessel tested by Oxford Authentications, the only testers of ancient pottery accepted by all major dealers, auction houses and museums worldwide, and the Thermoluminescence Analysis Report that will accompany this item is shown; this confirms the date of manufacture as "between 3,800 and 5,100 years ago".
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