Chinese Neolithic Painted Pottery Jar - Machang
This 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. The upper part of the outer surface and the inside of the mouth have been coated in a reddish-brown wash, on top of which has been applied geometric patterns in a dark mineral-based pigment, all prior to being fired in the Neolithic kiln. There are two small loop handles joined at the shoulder and mouth. It is quite highly-fired, having a distinct ring when tapped. There are marks on inner surface left by "mineralised" growths from its long burial.
Interestingly there is an "X" clearly purposely painted onto the base. As this mark was left long before the development of a written language, there is no way to know what it means, but it is possible it is the mark of the potter.
Diameter 11 cm, height 9 cm. Some surface wear and a small repaired chip to the rim.
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