World Ceramics: How was it used?

Earthenware vessels were used for eating, drinking and storage, and also perhaps for ceremonial functions. To suit different utilitarian and ceremonial needs, Jomon potters produced vast quantities of large pots in many forms, including fireplace bowls, pots for storage and cooking, lamps or incense burners, and footed vessels. This decorative jar was probably used during religious ceremonies. Black singe marks on the pot suggest it also may have been used for cooking over an open fire. It is believed that Jomon pots were not used as grave offerings, because all examples have been found at dwelling sites.

Many pieces have unique decoration, which leads us to think that perhaps crafts-people added original designs to make the pots recognizable as their own. The great variety also comes from the fact that pottery was not made in workshops; each household had at least one family member who was skilled in ceramic production.

Although the top-heavy, unstable shape seems impractical, this jar was probably set in a hole in the dirt floor of a Jomon dwelling, making its contents easily accessible.



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