Small jar with flat base, full body and tall upright mouth with rolled rim; the waist and shoulders decorated in a low-relief spiral pattern with impressed rope marks visible on the raised areas; remains of four small lugs around base of neck and a single large knotted device on the mouthrim; patches of grey on the mainly pinkish brown body are evidence of the jar having been fired in a bonfire
This jar is an example of the type of earthenware 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 (3500-2500 BC), after which, as in the case of this piece, their decorative schemes become increasingly simpler. The meaning of the patterning found on this and comparable vessels is unknown, but archaeologists are generally agreed that it had some kind of ceremonial or ritual significance.