Height: 4 1/4 inches, 11 cm
Width: 6 1/4 inches, 16 cm

Pottery jar with impressed textile pattern

China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, 475 - 221 BC

A pottery jar with a bulbous body that rises up from a slightly convex base.  The wide rounded shoulders, terminating in an incurved rim and with very short neck, are applied with two pairs of tubular lug handles. The jar is decorated all over with an impressed geometric design of tiny squares. The pottery is burnished to a terracotta colour, with some markings of the firing to the lower half.

Both the high-level technique of production of early Chinese pottery and the flourishing of the textile industry are shown admirably in this delicate earthenware vessel.  The pressed or punched decoration (yingtao) shows the use of textiles to decorate vessels that emerged in the late Neolithic period, continuing throughout the Zhou dynasty and after a period of decline, re-emerging towards the end of the Eastern Han period.1  Vessels with such impressed textile decorations are primarily attributed to Southern China, and were most likely made in Jiangsu, Zhejiang province. A similar jar of closely comparable dimensions and with identical impressed decoration, dated to the Warring States period, is in the Meiyintang collection.2

  1. Watson, W. Pre-Tang Ceramics of China, Faber and Faber, London 1991, p. 129
  2. Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Azimuth Editions, London 1994, Volume One, no. 60, pp. 46-7