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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
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Storage Jar
China, Gansu or Qinghai Province; Neolithic period, Gansu Yangshao culture, Banshan type, about 3rd - 2rd millenium B.C.E.
Earthenware painted with red and black slips
H. 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm); D. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm)without handles
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The density and complexity of the decoration painted on this large storage jar are characteristic of ceramics produced during the Gansu Yangshao culture (about 3000-1500 B.C.E.), which flourished in the Gansu and Qinghai Provinces in northwest China. It is generally assumed that painted ceramics such as this jar were used either as ritual objects or to show the high status of their owners. The two large lugs on either side of the jar may have been used for carrying, while the smaller ones at the top could have helped to secure a cover. It has also been suggested that the lower half of such vessels was left unpainted so that they could be partially buried in the ground, providing some stability.
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