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About This Artwork
Jar with Handles, c. 2000 B.C.
49 x 39 x 32 cm
Robert Allerton fund, 1963.643
Some of the oldest pottery in the world has been found in Japan. Although the country’s population was made up of hunters and gatherers during the Jomon period (12,500–300 B.C.), there was a stable pattern of settlements, making pottery production a possibility. The Jomon (literally “cord-mark decoration”) period is characterized by low-fired earthenware pottery with indentation marks, raised patterns, and sometimes flamboyant sculptural elements on the rims; such vessels can be found in regions across the Japanese archipelago. Those works displaying a highly refined artistic sense may have served ceremonial functions.
This open-work decorated jar is of the Ubayama (Kasori E) type found in the Neolithic shell mounds of Ichikawa in Chiba; this vessel type is characterized by integration of ornamentation and form, and an increasingly complex manner of patterning clay. Here double-lined “waves” made from coils of clay surge toward one of the perforated handles. The lower walls were impressed with a twisted cord.
— Permanent collection label
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