Jar with geometric designs

Not on view

This jar has a narrow mouth and a squat, globular body that sits on a small, concave base. It is made of a reddish clay decorated with black ovals arranged into rows and separated into panels by several pairs of thick horizontal lines. There are four small holes around the mouth, which may have been used to secure a lid. The jar was made by hand, and possibly finished on a slow wheel.

This type of pottery, sometimes called ‘Cheshmeh Ali ware,’ originated in the region around Tehran in the late sixth millennium BC and is found throughout northern Iran. A very similar jar was excavated at Kara Tepe, a prehistoric site about 22 miles (36 km) southwest of Tehran, and another vessel with similar decoration but with a high foot was found at Ismailabad, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Tehran. The function of this jar is not clear. Its medium size, thin walls and decorations suggest it was not a storage vessel, but was used in some sort of group dining activity; otherwise there would be no point in decorating it. But the shape would have made it unsuitable for eating or drinking out of, except through a straw, and it is too large for a single individual to hold. Perhaps it was a serving vessel, or possibly multiple people ate or drank from it at once.

Jar with geometric designs, Ceramic, paint

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