What are the earliest examples of ceramic sculpture and pottery?
The oldest prehistoric ceramic art was made during the ancient Japanese Jomon culture. Ceramic remains taken from one of the most ancient archelogical sites were carbon-dated to between 14,540 and 13,320 BCE. Most Jomon pots are small with rounded bottoms. The earliest Chinese pottery also emerged during this time.
Bottle, Late Jomon period(ca. 1500–1000 b.c.) Japan
Earthenware with incised designs
Click here to see more images of Jomon Pottery.
Also, make sure to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art for additional information including more photos and an interactive timeline of Jomon culture.
Onggi Pottery begins around 4000 to 5000 BC. Watch as Adam Field builds an Onggi pot using traditional clay techniques.
Visit Adam Field's website.
The earliest containers used by early
man were hollowed out pieces of stone or wood or bags of animal skin and baskets. Basketry
is one of the earliest crafts to be developed. Almost every region of
the world has suitable materials, in grasses, reeds or willows, and the
resulting object is both cheap and light.
But baskets are not good for containing liquids. For that purpose early technology soon found another material which is cheap, widely available and (by comparison with stone) relatively light.
This material is clay.
|24,000 B.C.||Ceramic figurines used for ceremonial purposes|
|14,000 B.C.||First tiles made in Mesopotamia and India|
|9000-10,000 B.C.||Pottery making begins|
Search terms dealing directly with a specific culture like "Ancient Greek Pottery" or "Jomon Pottery, Japan". Also, try exploring other ancient cultures not mentioned on this page. ("pottery in Mesopotamia", "ancient Egyptian Pottery")
The Greeks develop by far the most sophisticated tradition of early pottery, and Greek vases survive in greater numbers than any other ceramic group of comparable age.
To watch a video on the Ancient Greek technique, click here.
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Pottery with painted decoration (Cizhou ware)
Midwest, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Terracotta miniature volute-krater (mixing bowl)
Terracotta; applied color
Greek, South Italian, Apulian, Gnathian
ca. 325–300 B.C.