First pottery, Jomon, Japan

10.5 kya. We celebrated the evolution of the first flowers on Amborella Day, March 17. Now we can finally celebrate people having pots to put flowers in. The earliest pots in the world come from the Jomon culture in Japan. (Although they were more for cooking and storage than for flower arranging, of course.)

jomon

The advent of pottery defines the beginning of the Neolithic (New Stone Age). In some places, the Neolithic coincides with the inception of agriculture. But not everywhere. The Jomon are hunter-gatherers, ancestors to Japan’s Ainu. They live in villages, harvesting marine and arboreal resources (e.g. shellfish and acorns), which are rich enough that they can settle down and develop an increasingly elaborate ceramic tradition. A pot like this one was not thrown on a wheel, but made by hand, from coils of clay. Jomon means “cord marked,” from the patterns marked on the pots with cords.

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