3. Ancient Pots

This section is presented as a way for you to see the changes in early pots. It is my thesis that pottery started as a simple, undecorated piece. I think that as villages progressed the jobs needed to keep a family alive throughout the year were divided according to the needs of the community and according to any special talents that were found among the people of the village. Keep in mind that the period of time labeled Jomon started at about 10,000 BC.

One of the hardest things to keep in mind and understand is time. As you look at the following images remember that the art of pottery evolved over a long period of time.

Another thought is the people of Japan were isolated from other countries which in this case means that they did not see other forms of pottery and came up with their own idea about the shape and look of pots.

This pot was carved from stone.

Can you imagine how much work went into making this pot?

This next pot is a part of the progression. It is, to me, very beautiful. I can almost feel it in the palm of my hand. A cup for tea, perhaps. There is a random design on this pot that tells me how the pot was fired.

This pot was pit fired. You can see that the flames and the exposure to air made its own mark on the pot. This pot may have been hand built by a person who made thousands of these pots. The sense of elegance of the pot is caused by the small foot on the pot and the slightly turned out lip of the pot.

You can do this at home or with a community of friends.

I think it is important to make something after you complete a unit. In this case I am showing you the process of firing a pot in a pit, or in a metal garbage can. In this case the potter is using saw dust which will fire slowly

Here you can see the pit on fire.


And the pit after it has cooled.


The Jomon pottery is known for the rope design on its surface.


This pot is decorated in a different way. When the pot was dried enough but not hard a comb was used to make the decorative marks. Coils of clay were added while the pot was still wet.


The next pot or jar is amazing. Have you ever thought of a pot giving birth. Not I.

The process of birthing is important to any community. In this case, it may have been made for a birthing ritual, or to speak to people who have gone before, or to increase the number of animals or babies born to the community. What would you guess this pot represented to the people of Japan, 10,000 years ago?