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A large imposing Ancient Chinese Neolithic earthenware jar or guan, dating to the Machang phase of the Majiayao culture. The vessel is of typical form, consisting of a large bulbous body, flaring neck and two small strap-handles at the waist. The upper part is decorated with a zoomorphic design with two spherical crosshatch groupings between, in dark umber pigment.


A beautiful form of pottery at an early period in human history.

Machang phase, Majiayao culture of the Neolithic: Circa 2300 - 2000 BC.


Very Fine condition; a few minor surface chips.

Height 36.6 cms (14.4 ins).

Weight 4.3 kgs.


Provenance: Ex West Country collection, Bath, Somerset, UK, 1970-2000s.


According to the Met Museum New York, decorative motifs on Machang-period wares are largely geometric and include curvilinear patterns and cross-hatching, and lozenges, triangles, circles, and squares in an endless array of combinations. The zoomorphic figure in the centre of this jar is one of the more distinctive images in the Machang vocabulary. Feathers or some other type of tufting are found at the end of the upper limbs and at the joints of the appendages. These enigmatic motifs are variously interpreted: they are sometimes explained as abstract representations of natural creatures such as frogs; other hypotheses suggest that they are symbolic of either the costume worn by a shaman or the transformation he undergoes during rituals.

Chinese Neolithic jar (guan) with zoomorphic decoration

SKU: J674
£650.00 Regular Price
£500.00Sale Price

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