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The first ceramic sculpture - the Venus of Dolni Vestonice, dating to about 25,000 BCE - was unearthed at a Stone Age settlement in the Czech Republic, but the first ceramic pots are the Xianrendong Cave Pottery (18,000 BCE), found in northeastern Jiangxi Province in southeast China.
Up until the Jiangxi discovery, the earliest art of this type was the Yuchanyan Cave pottery (16,000 BCE) discovered in China's Hunan province.
Vessels were made with round bottoms thus avoiding any sharp angles or rims that would be more prone to cracking.
Glazes were not used, while decoration was limited to the use of coiled "ropes" and basketry.
However, we still don't know the full story as to why Chinese art in this field was so far ahead of its European counterparts.
It is also worth noting that porcelain was produced in China as early as the 9th century, but Europeans proved unable to make any until the 18th century.
Where earthenware usually ranges in colour from buff to dark red, stoneware varies from grey to buff, or even green - as in the case of celadon. (1) It can be glazed, using a range of mineral-based colour pigments.
Thus most Chinese pottery of the Upper Paleolithic (until about 10,000 BCE) was roughly made earthenware, fired in bonfires for a short time at temperatures up to 900 degrees Celsius.The Xianrendong pottery, for instance, was created about the time of the Last Gacial Maximum, when temperatures in East Asia were exceptionally low.In order to survive, people had to extract the maximum calorific and nutritional value from their food.Luristan Pottery Vessel (c.1500 BCE) An ancient ceramic container from Western Persia with a long semi-cylindrical spout, a looped handle, and engraved decoration. (2) It can be hand-painted before (or after) glazing, a method known as underglaze (or overglaze) decoration.(3) Slip painting is another decorative technique, whereby a thin combination of water and clay, called slip, is applied to the vessel's surface like paint.
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Moreover, while the first ceramic vessels must have provided Stone Age hunter-gatherers with several new opportunities for cooking and consuming foods, we have almost no idea of how early pots were used.