Asian Art

Jar

ca. 2500–2000 b.c.e.

Earthenware with pigment

16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm)
Gift of Alice and Nasli Heeramaneck in memory of Viola and William B. Arvine
1986.78.4
Because preliterate societies left no writings, pottery serves as one of the primary markers for identifying an early culture and distinguishing it from others. The shape of this jar and the swirling patterns on the upper part of the body typify works produced in the northwest during the Majiayao, a variant of the Yangshao culture centered in north-central China. Thousands of jars like this one have been excavated from tombs, which may indicate that they were used for everyday activities. This jar is painted with a water mixture made from the same clay that was used for the body, though the paint was tinted with iron and manganese to create red and black. The lower part of the jar is unadorned, as it was placed partially in the ground for stability. The lugs at the sides supported a rope to carry the vessel.
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Majiayao culture (ca. 3300–2000 B.C.E.), Macheng phase (2350–205
Classification: 
Containers - Ceramics
Geography: 
China
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

Sotheby's Sale #5469 "Song"; lot #15

Bibliography: 

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 289, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.