Bowl-shaped ceramic vessel with bold swirling designs painted in black against a neutral background.
The boldly painted pottery of China's prehistoric past dates from the so-called Banshan phase (2600 BCE-2300 BCE) of Majiayao Culture, which flourished in north and northwestern China in the Neollithic Period, before the discovery of the use of bronze.People of the Majiayao Culture lived in riverside villages, and made their livelihood by hunting, fishing, and small-scale plant cultivation. Kilns were located just outside the village, but potting does not seem to have been a specialized occupation. There was very little variation in the types of vessels made, and certain shapes remained popular for many centuries
This bowl was made by coiling strips of clay, and then a paddle and anvil were used to stabilize and refine the shape. The exterior surface was scraped, especially on the lower half, to produce a thin body and remove marks of the paddle. The whole was then often covered with slip (a very watery clay), dried, painted with mineral pigments, and fired in a simple kiln. The rich red, purple, brown and black tones of the paint come from iron and manganese compounds, which would have been found when digging for clay. The painted decoration is confined to the upper half, perhaps because these vessels were set into the earth to keep them upright. The painted designs evoke fish nets and swirling eddies of water, but their meaning remains a matter of debate; since these pots date from before the invention of a writing system, the Majiayao people left no record of what their beautiful designs mean.
Bottle with full, rounded base that tapers into a thin neck that terminates in a lipped rim. From the neck up, the vase has a brown glaze. The body has a brownish gray glaze with a white drizzled squiggle decoration along it.
This rustic looking bowl has a circular base from which the rounded shape of the bowl extends. The clear glaze reveals the brown and black tones of the materials.
During the rise of wabi aesthetics in Momoyama period (1583-1615), Japanese tea masters discovered the rustic earthenware rice bowls that were in widespread use among Korean peasant farmers. These simple bowls fit perfectly the wabi aesthetic taste for rusticity and simplicity. When many Japanese warlords, who were fervent tea practitioners themselves, went to Korea with the invasion attempts of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) in the 1590s, many ido chawan or “well-side tea bowls” were carried home and treasured as family heirlooms. Korean potters were also relocated to Japan as part of the spoils of war, and their descendants at the Hagi clan kilns in western Japan continued to make a ware that recalls the ido type.
Terracotta fragment carved on one side with an intricate patters of lines. There is a small hole on the bottom of the patterned side of the piece that does not go all the way through to the undecorated side.
Drawing on spiral sketchbook paper in terra cotta and ivory gouache with graphite pencil.
“Over the past 15 years, the sculptor Steve Keister has amassed an authoritative knowledge of Olmec, Maya and Toltec sculpture, owing primarily to his annual visits to archeological sites in Mexico and Central America. Using castings of consumer-product packaging and information from his fieldwork and digital photographic notes, his works establish a strange limbo of suspended signifiers. Meso-American figuration is repositioned in the present, relieved of its sacral deployment....” (Joe Fyfe, “Steve Keister at feature,” Art in America, Feb 2008)