JarArtist(s)ChineseArtist NationalityChinese (culture or style)Object Creation Date2600 BCE - 2300 BCEMedium & Supportearthenware with slip and mineral pigmentDimensions
16 1/4 in x 16 7/16 in x 16 15/16 in (41.2 cm x 41.8 cm x 43 cm)Credit LineGift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.Subject matter
This mortuary urn or guan
(罐) jar is of the Neolithic Banshan phase (2600 BCE-2300 BCE) of Majiayao Culture from Banshan, Gansu of the Yellow River Valley. Discovered by Johan Gunnar Andersson in 1921, by the 1980's approximately 60,000 items and 400 kilns had been discovered at Majiayao sites (He Li 1996, 22). They were found in subterranean graves with conical bases placed into the local soil, and because the decoration is consistently only on the top portion of the jar, it can be assumed they were meant to be viewed from above. Decorations of four whirls such as this is the most common decoration found on guan
at the Banshan site. While it is impossible to know the meaning behind this decoration, researchers suggest perhaps this pattern represents constallations or the four directions. They interpret the the network patterns to represent fishing nets, a major source of food supplied by the Yellow River. The two lug handles were probably used to tie down a wooden, or other decomposable material, lid. An abundance of this type of guan
were made with similar proportions, which suggests the use of a mathematical module, standardization, assembly line style mass production and the possible division of labor during the Neolithic period (Poor 1995, 166).
He, Li. Chinese Ceramics: a New Comprehensive Survey From the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
New York: Rizzoli, 1996.
Poor, Robert. "The Circle and the Square: Measure and Ritual in Ancient China" Monument Serica
43 (1995), 159-210.Physical Description
This light reddish-buff earthenware guan (
罐) jar has a wide globular upper body and conical lower body on a narrow flat base with a tall narrow neck and flaring rim. There are two diametrically opposed lug handles at the waist. Painted on the upper half of the body with black and red pigments are four whirls containing a network pattern within larger diamond shapes, confined between solid band borders, with a lobed line border below. Around the neck is a cross-hatched network design, hatch marks and solid bands to the interior. Primary Object Classification Ceramic Primary Object TypejarCollection AreaAsianRights
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