New Insights into Painted Pottery from Northwest China

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

This panel considers the origin, context, production, and circulation of painted pottery from Northwest China with broad perspectives. Used by people of varied backgrounds and in different contexts, these objects are dated around 8000 to 2000 years ago, from the Neolithic through Early Iron Age. Today, many museums throughout the world hold these ancient pots in their collections. Previous studies provide limited knowledge beyond chronological typologies of vessel forms and decorations. With new methods and data, participants of this panel develop and rethink hypotheses of population movement, cross-regional connection, material exchange, technological diffusion, stylistic imitation, and cultural identity behind these well known objects. New studies consider the ceramics as well as other findings, such as millet, textiles, leather vessels, and cowrie seashell. As comparable motifs can be noticed among painted pottery from China, Central Asia, Southeast Europe, and Southeast Asia, the geographic scope of discussion includes China and other regions of the Eurasian Continent in regional and cross-regional perspectives.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-7 of 7)

  • Documents (7)

  • Considering a ‘Chinese Element’ in Southeast Europe before the 2nd Millennium BC (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ting An.

    Evidence of millet in Europe before 2000 BC has invited questions about its material culture context, possibly related with external regions such as China. This study compares the matrial assemblages of distinctively painted pottery vessels associated with findings of millet in different regions, such as the Cucuteni-Tripolye Culture of Southeast Europe, the Anau Culture of Central Asia,and the Majiayao Culture of China. These painted pottery vessels have been argued to be similar to each other,...

  • The Dispersion of Early Painted Pottery in Northwest China (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Liangren Zhang.

    The dispersion of resource-based goods, such as obsidian and metals, has been a common subject in world archaeological literature and various mechanisms such as migration, gift exchange, and trade have been conjured up to explain it. The dispersion of painted pottery, by contrast, has been glaringly understudied. Although the raw materials for this product are less geographically constrained, its dispersion has not been well appreciated and explained. This paper aims to address the movement of...

  • Migration, Diffusion, and Trade: Potting in Neolithic NW China (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ling-yu Hung. Jianfeng Cui.

    Painted pottery traditions in Neolithic Northwest China emerged through diverse processes of human migration, technical transmission, style imitation, and material exchange. Starting around 6000 years BP, Yangshao farming communities expanded incrementally farther upstream along the Upper Yellow River drainage and westward along the Hexi Corridor. The painted pottery tradition introduced by Yangshao immigrants developed into different chronological and regional styles in Northwest China over the...

  • Neolithic Northern China in the Context of Early Eurasian Interactions (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eric Carlucci. Ling-yu Hung.

    With a focus on painted pottery assemblages known as Yangshao, Majiayao, Banshan, and Machang from Neolithic Northern China, the present study explores early Eurasian interactions and exchanges indicated by ceramic assemblages and other kinds of archaeological records dated before 4000 years ago. Since the 1920s, scholars have noticed parallels between China’s painted pottery and other collections in Central Asia and further west, prompting the "western origins" theory on painted pottery found...

  • Painted Pottery of the Siba Culture and Its Implications (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shuicheng Li.

    The Siba Culture (c. 3950-3550 years BP) is an early Bronze Age culture in Northwest China. Painted pottery of the Siba Culture is characterized by red slip, decorated with black and thick paint, which is easy to peel off. The painted motifs are mainly geometric patterns, apart from a few animal and human figures. These art treasures provide an important dataset to investigate the subsistence and culture of the ancient Qiang groups. Studies of the painted pottery also address: 1) implications of...

  • Prehistoric Painted Pottery of Xinjiang (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Enguo Lu.

    Ever since the 1970s, painted pottery has been discovered in large quantities at cemeteries and occasionally settlements on the southern and northern foothills of the Tianshan Mountain. Organizing them into four Early Iron Age (ca. 1300-200BC) regional cultures: Yanbulake in the Hami region, Subeixi in the Turfan region, Chawuhu in the Kaidu Valley, and Yili Valley in the eponymous region, this paper characterizes the stylistic distinctions of the painted pottery of them. The Yanbulake culture,...

  • Understanding the Production of Majiayao Painted Pottery in Gansu: New Data and New Thoughts (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Yi-Xian LIN. Ian Freestone. Hui WANG.

    This paper examines the evidence for local production of painted pottery of the Majiayao Culture in Gansu province based on their distinguishing characteristics in mineralogical, compositional and technological aspects, and on correlations of these features with the geographical source. An empirical observation of a contemporary family-scale workshop in Lintao County, where the most splendid pieces of Majiayao painted pottery have been found, suggests that the technological difficulties in the...