Regional practice in poly-chrome painting technology in Late Neolithic China

Author(s): William Gilstrap; Wugan Luo

Year: 2017


The Yangshao phase of the Chinese Neolithic is defined by the sudden occurrence of high quality poly-chrome painted pottery in the lower Yellow River basin. In this region there is no precedence for such high quality painted pottery, suggesting it had been imported from further afield. Production origins were previously investigated through examinations of chemical composition by NAA. While this study does not demonstrate the potential origins of this pottery technology, it provided new insight into regional patterns of production, exchange and consumption. Further still, it defined compositional signatures for at least three places of Neolithic pottery production within the study region.

Through an integrated framework of microanalysis combining LA-ICP-MS and SEM-EDS, this paper takes the project a step further by reconstructing painting technologies and firing practices of the newly identified production groups. Upon comparison of these final stages of pottery production it becomes evident that specific technological practices, including the use of manganese and iron oxide-base minerals as the foundation of black and red paints, are widespread. However, there are noticeable intra-regional differences in the production of white paint. These results suggest that discrete potting communities employed different technologies to achieve a common goal of poly-chrome pottery production.

Cite this Record

Regional practice in poly-chrome painting technology in Late Neolithic China. William Gilstrap, Wugan Luo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429021)

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Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16963