Published Sep 30 2013, by

Tall neck jar

Round-bottomed jars were usually made for use on a stand (or in a hole dug in the earth) in order to be functional and stay stable and upright. Unfortunately, this jar does not have its matching stand, but it does have other fine qualities that make it a very wonderful piece.

Observe the overall shape of the jar with its rounded bottom, high waist, gently sloping shoulder, and upright, slightly flaring neck. It was made by a master potter and has almost perfect proportions and balance. The wall of the body is equally thin and smooth overall. A deposit of natural ash glaze rests on the one shoulder, indicating the side of the pot that was facing the mouth of the kiln during firing.

But the careful manner in which the outside of the jar was decorated is the highlight. The neck is divided into three wide horizontal panels by raised bands. The potter has carefully incised a different pattern within each panel. The bottom panel has three staggered vertical lines, the middle panel has a continuous series of X’s around the jar, and the top panel has triangles that point toward the mouth. The sloping shoulder is demarcated with an incised line just above the widest part of the body, and a crosshatched pattern is incised around the shoulder. Time consuming and sophisticated, this jar was not run-of-the-mill or mass-produced, rather it was a beautifully crafted work of art.