Before the discoveries of the Swedish geologist J. Gunnar Andersson in 1921, China's Neolithic history remained an enigma based only on myth and cultural heroes. Andersson's excavations revealed a culture characterised by red pottery bowls and jars painted in rich earthy colours. Excavations begun in 1928 confirmed the existence of the Shang Dynasty and its last capital in the North-East region of China. After World War II Chinese archaeology experienced unpralleled growth and witnessed the discoveries of royal mausoleums, architectural foundations, pottery and oracle bones. The present pots are believed to be from the Gansu and Qinghai region in the upper Huanghe area, in the North-West of China. They can be dated to the Majiayao culture (c.3100-2700 BCE) and more specifically the Banshan type (c.2600-2300) and Manchang type (c.2200-2000).
The Banshan type (c.2600-2300) is one of the most attractive types of the Majiayao culture earthenwares. The painted ceramics are based upon designs of harmonious rounded shapes of curves, spirals and bands in warm colours which seem reminiscent of plant forms. All Banshan type are left undecorated on the bottom half and many are burnished to give a glossy finish.
The Manchang type (c.2200-2000) are generally decorated simply in black and include abstract designs based on human forms, either simplified to stick-like motifs, or abstracted to zig-zag patterns.
Since Andersson's discovery of a Neolithis village in 1921, some sixty Neolithic cultures have so far been identified, each one producing pottery.
This collection of twelve pots and the following lot of thirteen, comprising twenty five in total, afford the conniseur, collector or decorator a rare opportunity to acquire en masse, a collection which creates an imposing testimony to the extraordinary aesthetic and technical accomplishments of Neolithic China.