Jōmon pottery is one of the earliest Neolithic pottery cultures in the world and takes its name from the characteristic patterns of knotted or coiled rope that were pressed into the still pliable surface of the clay before firing. The Jōmon period in Japan was lengthy, extending from approximately 10,700 to 400 BC. It is divided into six eras, each with its own settlement patterns and pottery production characteristics. This pot, like all Jōmon vessels, was shaped by hand from coils of clay and then fired in an open pit. The pleasing color variations on the surface are the result of the uneven temperature and oxygen levels in the open-pit kiln. Although no two vessels are identical, this pot’s flaring lip and undulating rim, with its exuberant forms, are typical of the middle Jōmon period.
Middle Jōmon period, ca. 2000 BC
20 x 16 in. (50.7 x 40.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 62.189