Fine LARGE Chinese Neolithic Painted Pottery Jar - Machang (Liuwan type) with Oxford TL Test
This large and impressive pottery jar was made over 4,000 years ago during the Machang Phase (c. 2300 - 2000 BC) of the Majiayao culture, also known as the Gansu-Yangshao culture, from present day Gansu or Qinghai province. It is "heavily-potted" and relatively highly-fired. This jar has a wide body with two sturdy loop handles on opposing sides at its waist. The flat base has some impressions in it, most likely from the woven mat on which it stood during is coil method of construction. It has a fairly wide neck with a flared mouth.
The surface of its upper body has been burnished smooth and coated in a pale brown wash on top of which have been painted various striking geometric patterns in a dark fired-on mineral-based pigment. In contrast, the undecorated lower surface shows the marks of the shaping tool from its construction. There is a single line of pigment to the lower surface, presumably painted intentionally as similar such jars have been found with a variety of symbols painted to their undecorated lower surfaces, the meaning of which is unknown as, of course, such jars pre-date the written Chinese language ! On the surface in places are calcified growths from its long burial; these are usually very easy to remove although we leave them in place as they are part of the jar's incredibly long history.
This is an unusually large example of its type with a height of 39.5 cm (15.5 inches), diameter 35.5 cm (14 inches). This jar is a remarkable survivor - it is in outstanding condition with no sign or restoration or repair.
As with many of our finer and rarer items, 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 with our images; this confirms the date of manufacture as "between 2800 and 4400 years ago".
Examples of pottery of this general type with the distinctive brown wash below the painted design, have been excavated from Liuwan village, Ledu county in Qinghai province and date to the middle of the Machang period.
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