Jar with Molded and Impressed Design

3000–2500 BCE
Overall: 17 1/2 x 12 in. (44.45 x 30.48 cm)
Arts of Asia
Arts of Asia - China, Level 3
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Bromberg Family Wendover Fund
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

General Description

The earliest Jomon wares were simple pots with pointed bases and plain round rims. As this example shows, by the middle of the Jomon period, pots were given flat bases and fanciful rim decoration. Japan's Middle Jomon period, which ranged from 2500-1500 BCE, was characterized by groups of hunter-gatherers living in semi-permanent settlements. Fishing and gathering shellfish were important means of sustenance, but there is also evidence for agricultural production toward the end of the Jomon era. Coil-built, low-fired ceramic vessels such as this jar were prevalent and used for storage, cooking, and offerings. The common practice of decorating ceramics by pressing or rolling knotted cords (jo) into the soft surface to create patterns (mon) gave rise to the name Jomon for this period. In this example, incised lines border areas of jomon patterns, while the rim and body show typical looped and coiled applied-clay rolls.

It has been proposed that this vessel belongs to the Atamadi family, one of several stylistic groups that have been identified from the Jomon Period. The religious use of this jar (for offerings) is indicated by the untouched inside surfaces. The walls were probably too thin for carrying anything, and the bottom part of the vessel is clear of charcoal marks, which would have indicated a pot used for cooking.

Drawn from

  • Pearson, Richard. "Jomon Ceramics: The Creative Expression of Affluent Foragers (10,500 - 300 BC)." In The Rise of a Great Tradition: Japanese Archaeological Ceramics from the Jomon through the Heian Periods (10,500 BC - AD 1185). New York: Japan Society and the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, 1990.

  • DMA unpublished material.

  • Label text, Arts of Asia, 2018.

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