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Chinese earthenware oviform jar, Neolithic period, possibly Yangshao culture, its buff body made from coiled clay, with a flared rim, narrowly tapering foot and two small lugs on either side of the vessel at its widest point, the upper three quarters decorated in black slip with rhythmic bands and a section of cross-hatch with large solid circles.
Jars such as this were fired at relatively low temperatures (around 1000 degrees centigrade), resulting in a porous body suitable for storing dry goods such as grain. They have also been discovered at many burial sites, where they were interred with their owner as part of funerary rituals. In terms of technology and design, Neolithic pottery represents a significant advancement in the history of Chinese ceramics. This period is associated with two cultures which occupied the Huang River valley: the Yangshao culture with mainly red-fired pottery and polychrome painted ceramics settled from Honan to the west along the Wei valley and around the upper Huang River, while the Longshan, with grey-bodied and burnished black wares, settled further east and towards the coast. It has been suggested that the cross-hatch pattern frequently found on Yangshao wares represents fishing nets, as the settlements along the Huang would have been largely dependent on the river for subsistence.
Similar jars are illustrated in 'The World's Great Collections: Oriental Ceramics, Vol. 8 Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm' (1982), pl. 4-5.