An artist’s eye: Jomon pottery and the dirt…

incipient_period_jomon-potThe Jomon peoples of ancient Japan were making ceramics as far back as the Ice Age, and the huge diversity of styles tells us of civilizations come and gone long, long before the advent of Chinese-based writing. JomonYet through all this multiplicity, the vast majority of Jomon vessels have a rounded or narrow base, a noticeably elaborate rim, and a clear decorative division between the (smaller or larger) rim area, and the lower part of the vessel. jomon2jomon7

Clearly, many Jomon vessels were used for cooking – remnants of charred food have been discovered, and signs of fire damage.

jomonpot_mma_800But to an artist’s eye, and remembering that the Jomon were experts at storing – and probably at fermenting – food in pits, most of these vessels would show to their best advantage half-way – or two-thirds – buried in earth, especially in a natural context, and then again in the moment of being pulled from the ground, with a serendipitous pattern of dirt scraps still clinging to the decorative geometries of their lower part.




…wouldn’t it be fun to see a modern ceramicist try their hand at pottery created for this context…?

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