Painted pottery with four abstract human figures

Majiayao culture, Machang type, ca. 2300-1800 BCE
23 cm high

Description: This burnished jar is painted with the most classic zigzags and back and red colours of Majiayao Culture. The elongated body may suggest that it is from late Banshan period or Machang Period. The bottom line of the major section of the painting consists of both a straight and a wavy lines, which are typical of these periods. The abstract patterns look like four half bodied human lifting their arms, hand in hand. Their faces are composed of well organised groups of net motifs. They may be derived from fishing nets, as the ancient people located next to the Yellow River were fishermen. It may also resemble the mat made of thick cords from plant fibre, where people at that time sat or slept on. This object may be used in a worship service as it is finely made with human figures. Looking from the top of the object, the shoulder part is covered by the symmetric four large circles, which is rather typical of Machang type pottery, later Majiayao phase.

Provenance: French collection