Globular Jar (Guan)
Gansu or Qinghai province
Neolithic period, Majiayao culture, Banshan phase, c. 2500 B.C.
Burnished orange-buff earthenware with painted decoration
Height: 31.5 cm (12.4 in.); Diameter: 43.2 cm (17.0 in.)
Restricted Gift of the Rice Foundation, 1990.125
This large jar is constructed with a short neck and flared lip and gradually swells toward the midsection. Its thin walls were built up with coils of clay and then compacted with a paddle and smoothed. Two loop handles were then attached at either side. As is seen in many jars from the Majiayao culture, the upper portion of this vessel is enhanced by an intricately painted pattern, seen here in the double gourds filled with crosshatching marks. These surface designs, painted with iron-rich pigments, display very early mastery of the flexible paintbrush. Such vessels also reveal the expertise of early Chinese potters in precisely controlling the temperature of their kilns.