Purchased with the support of the Friends of the V&A, Travel with the V&A: Japan 2007, and Mr Masao Iketani
3500 BC-2500 BC (made)
Cer, Japan, Jomon ware. Jar, unglazed earthenware with complex spiral and three-dimensional patterning, Japan, Middle Jomon period, 3500-2500 BC, Northern Kanto Kasori E style
Height: 53.0 cm, Diameter: 48.0 cm
World Ceramics, room 145
In terms of provenance, the jar has been in the hands of the Mika Gallery for over ten years and belonged to a private collector for at least eight years prior to that. In answer to my enquiries, the gallery owner, Ms Seki, advised me by email that, 'this piece is currently in our gallery in New York and I have had to submit supporting documents to the Cultural Agency (equivalent to our DCMS) to obtain the permit to export this piece for the intention of sales. Thus there are no illegal factors related to the sale of this piece.'
Rupert Faulkner, Asian Department, x2247, 30th May 2007
Jar with impressed
Japan, Kanto region
Middle Jomon period
The Jomon people inhabited the Japanese archipelago from the 14th to the first millennium bc. Jomon pots are some of the earliest known and are thought to have been made by women. The clay was built up by coiling, then fired outdoors in a bonfire. The distinctive patterning, which carried symbolic and narrative meaning, was drawn into the soft clay with a split length of bamboo.
Unglazed earthenware, with carved and incised decoration
Museum no. FE.41-2008
Purchased with the support of the Friends of the V&A,
Travel with the V&A: Japan, and Mr Masao Iketani [September 2009]
Deep vessel form of handbuilt earthenware with complex patterning incised into the damp clay with the end of a split length of bamboo; four raised protrusions around rim, spiral decoration on upper torso, and vertically incised lines on lower torso; mottled orange to grey colouration the result of bonfire firing
This large earthenware jar is a fine example of the powerfully sculptural pottery produced by the Jomon people, who inhabited the Japanese archipelago from the 14th to the first millennium BC. Jomon (literally 'rope pattern') wares, from which the name of the culture that produced them is derived, are among the earliest ceramics ever made. They reached a peak of sophistication in terms of complexity of shape and patterning during the Middle Jomon period, when this particular jar was made. The meaning of the elaborate patterning found on this and comparable vessels is unknown, but archaeologists are generally agreed that it had some kind of ceremonial or ritual significance.