Yangshao Pottery Jar

Date: 5000 – 3000 B.C.
Geography: China, Henan Province, Central Yellow River
Culture: Yangshao Culture
Medium: Ceramic, manganese and iron pigments
Dimensions: 17.2 x 16.5 cm
Credit Line: Gift of The John Young Foundation
Accession Number: 1998.1.2

Yangshao people lived in settled villages, had set graveyards for their dead, and developed exquisite handicrafts and pottery. Yangshao pottery is so distinct among the regional cultures of Neolithic China that the culture itself is often referred to as the “Painted-pottery Culture.” This jar is a beautiful example of highly decorated pottery that was most likely used for funerary or ritual purposes. This vessel is a round-bottomed yellow earthenware jar with red and black painted geometric designs. The entire vessel has a repeating pattern of prominent X marks surrounded by red and black circles, with a black crisscross pattern filling in the background. The artwork on Longshan pottery is often abstract, and the knowledge of what their designs represent has been lost in time. The painted potteries of this culture are the embodiment of the cultural and social complexity achieved by Neolithic cultures of the time.