Three Objects of the Chinese Neolithic Pottery

free essayArt involves diverse forms of human activities that create auditory, performing, or visual objects to show the author’s imaginative as well as technical skills. The artworks intend to capture the attention of other people through their beauty and emotional power. As such, different communities and societies have their unique way of presenting their traditions and worldviews.

Thus, Neolithic pottery includes the artifacts from that period that were entirely modeled from fired clay. The three artworks under review in this paper include Rustic Dancer, Horse and Female Rider, and a Pair of Goblets. The paper will seek to illustrate the formal characteristics of the objects, as well as ascertain the context in which they were situated. Further, additional information regarding the objects’ details at the museum will be provided by this essay.

Rustic Dancer

The Neolithic pottery existed during the Eastern Han dynasty. The artifact has been created from earth-ware material that contains traces of pigments. Its accession number at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gallery 207 is 1994.605.86. Further, its collection credits have been passed to John C. Weber and Charlotte C., which happened in 1994. Furthermore, the museum classifies the Rustic Dancer art as a Tomb Pottery.

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The artifact belongs to the Hans culture. The artwork portrays a Han Chinese male participating in a traditional rustic dance. Such recognition of the character as a man could relate to the dressing code, the cap he wears, as well as the body structure. The artifact has a height of about 18.4 centimeters, a width and diameter of 15.2 and 9.5 centimeters respectively. The object appears to have been white polished, although the color has faded away over the years. Further, the dancer frisks ply with his strong feet. He is clapping at the same time as he makes the moves. The artwork shows him as having one foot raised in what would become considered as a dancing style.

Moreover, the feet of the sculpture are in rounded form. This technique could have been a way of balancing the object in the intended position. From the observation of the facial expression, this dance was most probably performed during happy occasions in the Chinese culture. It corresponds to the culture of the Hans practiced during this period. Its molding and depiction have recognizable relations to the Han Chinese culture. Also, it has the characteristics showing the early stages of the traditional music dances practiced by the community at the time.

A Pair of Goblets

The goblets were molded during the of the Western Han dynasty between 206 B.C. and 9 A.D. It was located in the area nearing Luoyang, in Henan Province. The pair depicts a Chinese culture and classifies as ceramics. Its composition includes earth-ware materials containing pigments. It measures 11.6 cm, and is 9 cm in height and diameter respectively. The collection was gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Gallery 207 was by John C. Weber and Charlotte in the year 1994. The artifact accession number at the museum is 1994.605.34.

The goblets appear as a pair, are equal in size, with almost similar nature of painting although differing insignificantly. The goblets look like small jars or cups but do not have a handle. Again, they have a base linked to the upper part through a narrow neck. Further, they appear to be in the form of ‘V’ shape, with an empty space inside, where the user could place a product whether in liquid or solid form. The decoration on each of them shows divisions through white stripes over a black background. At the pot of the objects, a white strip appears at the mouth followed by a small black one before it reappears again. A total of seven white stripes can be observed dividing the black background.

The second space in the middle of the goblets’ prints shows some coded language writings as well as images portraying the community’s history. Below it, there appears another black strip with white triangle images painted inside it. The base of the objects has as well been painted white. Moreover, the drawings depict the traditional Chinese imperial sovereignty of the people in the Western Han dynasty. Furthermore, in shape, the objects are round from top to the bottom, although the size of the diameter varies. The pinnacle of the goblets seems to be the widest and reduces proportionally to the neck point of the objects, before expanding again at the base. The stand appears strong and serves as a block to support the weight of the object.

Horse and Female Rider

The Sancai pottery was made using earth-ware with a three color that has been colored with pigment that was invented and used at the time of Tang Dynasty. The time of their creation can be estimated as late seventh to the first half of the eighth century. The culture practiced in the area was Chinese of the Tang Dynasty rule. Further, the dimensions of the artifact showed it to have been 44.5 centimeters long in height. In the museum, the artwork has been classified as Tomb Pottery and was gifted to it by Stanley Herzman in 1991 in remembrance of Adele Herzman. The artifact’s accession number at the museum is 1991.253.10.

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An artist used white clay as the major component which was later fired. Later, other ingredients were to be added. At its completion, the pottery depicted three colors ranging from green, brown and white. The adoption of the name Sancai is based on the three color characteristic as it literary means color in Chinese.

The artwork depicts a Chinese woman riding on a horse and reflects the social life of women in the Tang society at the time. The woman on the horseback wears clothes of green and brown colors. Further, the pottery of that period showed that Tang dynasty society respected and valued women, and hence was a powerful, open, all-inclusive as well as progressive. Besides, the pottery displays the woman riding comfortably and at ease, something that showed much freedom and a feeling of being part of the society. Women riding a horse by their own were not accepted by many communities at the time. Thus, this tradition differed from what happened in the following years, where this freedom was curtailed, and women were confided to performing household chores. More restrictions were put on them after the Tang Dynasty.

In addition, the woman’s elegant hairstyle is another indication of the traditional societal order and culture in China for a century. It depicts the community’s fashionable way of dressing. It can be recognized from the clothing worn by the lady. On the other hand, the horse has been smartly painted brown and seems energetic and in good health.

Use of Clay in Arts

The creation of artifacts using clay is one of the oldest ways of passing the intended message by the artists. Its use in various societies has existed since the Stone Age and has continued to be utilized to this day. Objects created from fired clay were considered as the most durable of the prehistoric times, which is notable due to their continued existence until now. The firing of the clay-molded objects was a norm meant to strengthen the mud. Again, the molding of the baked-clay items was easier during this period as opposed to the use of sharpened rock, which ran the risk of breaking up during the process or when it hit the ground. Further, its suitability was recognizable for the ceramics production, and hence the massive spread of its use. Furthermore, clay has been found to create some of the goods that are almost imperishable in comparison to other archeological finds. Some of other materials used for making objects such as wood could not last long enough until the modern times.


The painting of the artifacts also was supposed to demonstrate the culture of the people. The tree artworks discussed in this paper are a demonstration of the culture of their period of creation each in its own way. For example, the rustic dancer depicts a Han Chinese male character making traditional dancing moves to some music that could have been played at the time. Further, the man’s head is shown as wearing a Chinese cap that traditionally was worn by men at the time. On the other hand, the pair of goblets depicts some drawings that express the Chinese beauty. The goblets have flowers drawn on them that represented the expressive art of the community in that locality. On its part, the figure of the female rider shows a woman from the Tang dynasty period. The woman has been presented to show the culture of the Chinese people right from her dressing to her hair style. The clothing depicts the dressing code that existed among the Tang dynasty women and was practiced for centuries. Again, the fact that she rides a horse is a demonstration of the open and accepting society that recognized and allowed some freedoms to women at the time. It is different from what has been seen in the following years when those rights were reduced to a great extent.