A Quick Guide to Neolithic Period Art
The Neolithic period is also known as the stone age, and it occurred around 10,000 years ago. This period took place during a time of prehistory meaning that there are no written records from that time to document what life was like. Instead, what we know from that era mainly comes from archeological evidence that has been dug up in recent years.
Neolithic period art in China is particularly unique since it was created many thousands of years before the art we are familiar with today, such as sculpture artwork by Michaelangelo or paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci. But what exactly is Neolithic art, and what makes it unique?
Keep reading and learn more about the Neolithic period and the unique types of art that were created in that period of art history.
What Is the Neolithic Period?
You might have heard of the neolithic period before but you may not know what it is or about its art origins. The Neolithic period was a time of great change for the human race. It marked the change between hunters and gatherers becoming farmers and pastoralists. People figured out how to domesticate certain animals and plants so that they could set up small villages rather than move from place to place in search of more food.
If the Neolithic period never happened, then people would likely still be living in caves and migrating from place to place in search of more animals to kill and more food to gather. Because the Neolithic period allowed people to become more settled than before, this also gave people the chance to start creating art.
While humans have been creating art for 30,000 and even 40,000 years, as is evidenced by cave paintings, art during the Neolithic period started to become more advanced. It also started to take on more of a functional side than before. For example, pottery finally came to light during this time.
Of course, pottery is not only an art form, but it also functions to carry food or liquids for long distances. Much of the pottery that archaeologists discover from this period is in fragments. Even so, we can tell a lot about the pottery just from the fragments alone.
Chinese Neolithic Period
We know that some of the earliest examples of Chinese Neolithic pottery were unglazed. Besides that, they were rather plain and without much decoration. More modern Neolithic pottery, on the other hand, has more decor.
This is because people started to discover new ways of creating ceramics over the years. Eventually, Neolithic pottery started to become glazed and covered in interesting colors and markings. And, of course, pottery from different regions of the world looks quite different.
European pottery from the Neolithic age, for example, tends to look quite rustic. This is in comparison to pottery from ancient China or other parts of Asia or the Middle East.
Some Chinese pottery even used interesting materials such as bone powder, lead glaze, porcelain, and more.
But of course, the Neolithic period did not only consist of art in the form of pottery. There are several other art forms to consider from this ancient time.
Other Forms of Chinese Neolithic Period Art
It is during this time that people seemed to start creating unique figurines made out of stone or similar materials. The Venus of Willendorf, for example, is a famous example of an ancient stone carving. While this Venus statue is dated to around 30,000 years ago, it is still quite similar to the figurines that were created around 10,000 years ago.
In China, jade figurines were often preferred to regular stone ones.
Often, these figurines are of women, often depicted as obese. This may be the case because large women were seen as symbols of fertility, health, or good luck. It is believed that these figurines would be carried around in a person's pocket as a sort of talisman.
Many of these small carvings were produced. Some of them also depicted animals, anthropomorphic animals, and similar creatures. Many jade carvings were also of functional items such as hair combs.
Most of the art during the Neolithic age was created for a purpose rather than just decoration. Besides small figurines, large pieces of art also became popular during that time. The large stone formations in China's Yangshan Quarry are a famous example of Megalithic architecture.
What You Need to Know
The word "Megalith" literally translates to "large rock." Needless to say, The Yangshan Quarry formations certainly consist of many large rocks.
It is not known why these structures were created, but it most likely has to do with religious purposes. This is because these structures are designed in such a way that they would not make good homes but instead good areas of convergence and community.
Another type of Neolithic art involves stone carvings. In some locations, there are stones that have been intricately carved with strange designs. These stones may have acted as meeting places, as religious sites, or as a way to bar off territory.
There are even some ancient tortoise shells with carvings and early writing on them.
There are also some very old stones that still have traces of ancient paint on them. While this paint is often hard to see, scientific restoration has allowed us to have a better idea as to what Neolithic people might have been interested in painting.
All About Chinese Neolithic Period Art
Neolithic period art is completely unique compared to modern art and more ancient art. It was a time when people finally had the chance to become farmers rather than hunters and gatherers. During this time, people started to create all sorts of art, such as pottery, paintings, sculptures, and more.
To learn more about this art and other forms of art, click here.