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Black Pottery

In the last step of pottery making, water is usually added slowly from the top of the kiln in order to produce thick smoke while extinguishing the charcoal. When this is done, the black pottery comes out. Following the color-glazed pottery, this was another peak of pottery making in Chinese Neolithic Age (about 10000 to 5000 years ago). It is another great invention of the same aesthetic value with that of the color-glazed pottery in Chinese pottery making craft.

This eggshell-like black pottery goblet, unearthed in Shandong Longshan Cultural Relic of the later Neolithic Age in Rizhao County of Shandong Province in northern China, is the best work of Chinese ancient pottery.

The goblet is 26.5 cm in height, and can be divided into 3 parts. The top is a cup with a wide rim, the middle is a sculptured hollow stem, and the bottom looks like an overturning pot. The stem connects the three. The shape of the goblet is elegant and exquisite. The wall of the cup is of the same thickness and is as thin as eggshell. The thinnest part is only 0.2 to 0.3 mm but quite fine, smooth and solid. The surface glitters after long-time polishing. The stem is decorated by sculptured holes and engraved lines, making the goblet even more exquisite. It is now kept in the Shandong Museum.

This kind of goblet only appeared in the early and mid periods of the Longshan Culture in Shandong Province. Perhaps it was the special local material and pottery making techniques that made the goblet so unique. The making of such pottery is of high difficulty even today, and it represents the great achievements of pottery making craft in ancient China.

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