An Indian Black Slip Ceramic Round Jar

Northern India
Sunga Dynasty, 1st century BC
Reference #: PE1257

Height: 12 inches (30.5 cm)

Of globular form with short, stepped cylindrical neck and small mouth. Covered over three quarters with thin black slip. The shoulders decorated with impressed floral pattern consisting of a single large bloom flanked by three pointed leaves (the veining clearly articulated with carefully applied slip) issuing three small florets. This pattern is repeated four times around the jar and banded at the bottom by a single raised band at the lute line and at the top by a petal collar with beading above. The lower section and base unglazed revealing the gray stoneware body.

Ceramic examples from this period are extremely rare. It is clear that the form and decoration of the jar are derived from a bronze prototype. The Mauryan Dynasty that preceded the Sunga offered the region a long period of unity, stability and prosperity. In response to these advantageous conditions there arose a vital and productive artistic community. The Sunga dynasty benefited from this strong artistic heritage as seen on the extraordinary sandstone narrative reliefs at Bharut. The crisp, decisive pattern and execution of the present piece testify to the high level of craftsmanship of the period.

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