A large painted pottery jar Majiayao culture, Banshan to Machang phase, c. 2600-2000 B.C. 馬家窰文化 半山至馬廠類型 彩陶大罐
Property from the Ronald W. Longsdorf Collection
A large painted pottery jar
Majiayao culture, Banshan to Machang phase, c. 2600-2000 B.C.
Ronald W. Longsdorf 收藏
馬家窰文化 半山至馬廠類型 彩陶大罐
d. 38.2 cm; h. 30.8 cm
As expected and very typical of its type, the jar has some consolidated breaks predominantly to the rim. The original paint is largely preserved.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Ronald W. Longsdorf, The Pottery Age: An Appreciation of Neolithic Ceramics from China, Circa 7000 BC - Circa 1000 BC, Hong Kong, 2020, pl. 27.
Ronald W. Longsdorf, 《陶誌：中國新石器時代陶器 約公元前7000年 – 前1000年》，香港，2020年，圖版27
Gracious in its proportion and thoughtful in its composition, the present jar is not only an outstanding example of large painted pottery jars from the Banshan phase in Majiayao culture, but also an exquisite masterpiece combining geometry and abstractionism in the art of pottery.
It is widely believed that such jars were intended to be viewed from the top, which probably explained why they are usually undecorated from the midpoint of the vessel as they would remain invisible to the eye. The astute design of horizontal arrangements of bold dark roundels each accentuated by concentric dotted borders within them created a powerful contrast between the geometrical circles and their negative spaces. The bulbous curving contours of the vessel, as well as the interruption of the loop handles would have posed challenges to the Neolithic potters to maintain a symmetrical outcome to the composition. The uneven negative spaces between the second horizontal register of large roundels are cleverly disguised by the insertion of smaller roundels between them, as well as the bold line borders underneath. The resulting arrangement created an hypnotising design with remains timeless to the modern eye.
Compare a similar jar illustrated in Cheng Zheng and Qian Zhiqiang, Painted pottery of the Yellow River, Taipei, 1994, p. 280, pl. 197; and another in the collection of Jinshan Museum, illustrated in Jinshan Museum (ed.), Fascinating charm of ancient pottery: Exquisite pottery of Jinshan Museum, Shanghai, 2015, p. 45.