Banshan Burial Jar, earthenware with painted and burnished decor

Funerary Storage Jar, c. 2300 BCE


The most distinctive product of the Majiayao culture (3800-2000 BCE) was a type of painted pottery of extraordinary refinement which has become associated with the Neolithic grave sites at Banshan in Gansu province. This jar, like others shown here, was fashioned without the use of a potter's wheel by coiling rolls of clay into the desired shape, after which it was smoothed, burnished, painted and fired at a temperature around 1000 degrees F. Because most Majiayao pottery was a less refined, more utilitarian ware, and since elaborate jars such as this were usually buried with the deceased, it is probably that they held food for the afterlife and the designs may have held religious significance for the ancient Chinese.

Funerary Storage Jar
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Banshan Burial Jar, earthenware with painted and burnished decor