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The invention of pottery and ceramics marked the advent of the New Stone Age in China around 6,000 years ago. The earliest earthenware was molded with clay by hand and fired at a temperature of about 500-600 degrees Celsius. Painted pottery emerged during the Yangshao and Longshan cultures.
The Yangshao was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China from around 5000 BCE to 3000 BCE. These people flourished mainly in the provinces of Henan, Shaanxi, and Shanxi.
Yangshao artisans created fine white, red, and black painted pottery with human faces, animals, and geometric designs. Unlike the later Longshan culture, the Yangshao culture did not use pottery wheels. Excavations found the bodies of children buried in painted pottery jars.
The Longshan were a late Neolithic culture in China, centered in the central and lower Yellow River. They existed just after the Yangshao culture, from about 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE.
The Longshan culture was distinguished by its advanced pottery skills, including the use of pottery wheels. This culture's most noted creation is highly polished, black pottery, also known as eggshell pottery because of its thin walls. Eggshell pottery has also been discovered in the Yangzi River valley and as far as the southeastern coast of modern China, a clear indication that Neolithic agricultural subgroups of the greater Longshan culture spread across the ancient boundaries of China.
The Neolithic population in China reached its peak during the Longshan culture. Toward the end of the era, the population decreased sharply; this was matched by the disappearance of high-quality black pottery in ritual burials.
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“Ceramics in Neolithic China.”
Boundless Art History
Boundless, 28 Nov. 2016.
Retrieved 25 Feb. 2017 from