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Monday, June 2, 2008

Classic Work of Painted Pottery

Classic Work of Painted Pottery

Most painted pottery in China was made around 3000 to 5000 years ago in the Yellow River Valley in Southwest Qinghai, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces and northern Henan province. A classic piece is the human face and Fish Body Design Colored Pottery Basin from the Neolithic Age (5000 to 10000 years ago), which was discovered in the 1950s in Banpo Village, Xi'an of Shaanxi Province.

The basin, 16.5 cm and a diameter of 38.5 cm, are made of clay pottery with a design of a human face to keep the fish at the corners of their mouths. It is equally red in color and decorated with black pigment. At the time, the Banpo people decorated their pottery simply, the most striking designs are images of fish, which are ubiquitous. The fish, which were arranged in symbolic patterns, must have been a totem of the ancient Banpo people.

Primitive Chinese artists used the black, white and red paint to decorate red pottery utensils, such as basins, jars and plates. The designs on painted pottery comes in two forms: abstract patterns and realistic drawing figures of animals, insects and humans.

There are a dozen patterns depicted in Chinese painted pottery - the most common way is rippling, rotating, circular, saw-tooth and net-mesh pattern. The lines are smooth and neat, symmetrical and balanced, adhering to specific rules. The painted pottery unearthed in the Majiayao in Gansu Province, reveals many rippling and rotating designs drawn with a smooth and balanced attack to create a calm and gentle mood. The construction of a shed precious light on primitive life in Chinese society of men fishing and hunting, and women performing domestic work and the collection of vegetables and fruits. The early society was free of segregation and slavery, and its painted figures, also included a peaceful and harmonious beauty.

The Banshan and Machang painted pottery, which succeeded the Majiayao, had changed. More saw-tooth, circling and frog-shaped stroke tools appear Wilder, bolder and more enigmatic. Chinese primitive society was to break up during that period and social reforms under way. The turbulence and concern was reflected in patterns. It is not just a fanciful idea to read such meanings of painted pottery designs as all paintings and drawing patterns in later and better documented Chinese dynasties, reflect the social mood and trends of their respective eras.

Realistic ceramics design is more attractive. Animal designs on painted pottery unearthed in Banpo Village in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, have simple but descriptive patterns, such as swimming fish, running deer and barking dogs. The design shows that ancient Chinese artists were skilled at depicting the movement of animals. On a painted pottery basin discovered in Datong County, Qinghai Province, there is a picture of five people dancing in a line, hand in hand. The design can be seen as both an ancient art and ornamentation.

Primitive Banpo artists began to use images patterns for decorative purposes and to express abstract ideas. For example, they have shared fish patterns in different parts of the head, body and fins - alternating straight lines with curves, triangles and circles. The news was an important step in the development of Chinese painting. On a painted pottery basin from the Banpo Village, for example, we see the design of a human face with a fish body. According to archaeologists, such patterns may have been used for decorating tool or for sacrificial rites of spring season for a good harvest. If so, Banpo ceramics design would be the earliest religious art in the whole of art history.

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