East Asia, Japan, Jomon Period, ca. 14,000 to 300 BCE, most likely about 3,000 to 4,000 years old. A considerable hand-built terracotta vessel of a sprouting form with a flat base, the exterior walls impressed with an uneven and non-linear corrugated pattern made by pressing a cord onto the wet clay before firing; hence the term "jomon" which translates to "cord pattern." The large, upturned rim flares outward relative to its cylindrical form, with six nubbin-shaped projections along the upper periphery. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline essay, "They (potters of the Incipient Period) produced deep pottery cooking containers with pointed bottoms and rudimentary cord markings—among the oldest examples of pottery known in the world." This vessel may date to the early or the late Jomon period given the relatively simplistic decorations, as those of the middle period were complex in their decorative aspect. Size: 8" W x 9.125" H (20.3 cm x 23.2 cm).
The ancient Japanese Jomon Period is known for its distinctive pottery tradition that set it apart from the Paleolithic Age. Jomon pottery vessels are among the oldest in the world and typically present rope- or cord-like impressed decoration. In fact, the etymology of the word Jomon means cord pattern. Since no kilns have been excavated from the Jomon period, it is believed that the ancients fired these vessels in open fires.
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline essay, "All Jomon pots were made by hand, without the aid of a wheel, the potter building up the vessel from the bottom with coil upon coil of soft clay. As in all other Neolithic cultures, women produced these early potteries. The clay was mixed with a variety of adhesive materials, including mica, lead, fibers, and crushed shells. After the vessel was formed, tools were employed to smooth both the outer and interior surfaces. When completely dry, it was fired in an outdoor bonfire at a temperature of no more than about 900° C." (https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/jomo/hd_jomo.htm)
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private Chicago, Illinois, USA collection; ex-private San Francisco, California, USA collection.
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Repaired from several pieces with multiple areas of restoration, resurfacing, and light earthen material covering and stabilizing the break lines, with small chips and losses along break lines. Expected surface wear and discoloration commensurate with age, minor chips and hairline fissures to rim and body, with earthen and mineral deposits throughout.