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Timelines of World Art: Asia

c. 10,000 BC

Neolithic potters in Japan during the Jomon period produce containers that are among the world's earliest ceramic wares and are characterized by surfaces decorated with cord-markings (the meaning of the term jomon) and dramatic shapes. Read more...

5000 BC–4000 BC

Pottery containers made in the Chinese Neolithic village of Banpo are painted with geometric designs and linear patterns for funerary and domestic use. Read more...

c. 3300 BC–c. 2200 BC

The Neolithic Liangzhu civilization of coastal China makes finely crafted and polished jade personal ornaments and religious implements for graves, possibly to convey and herald the status of the deceased. Read more...

c. 3000 BC

Black-burnished pottery vessels with remarkably thin walls are distinctive to China's Neolithic coastal cultures. In particular, the Dawenkou culture is credited with developing the fast potter's wheel at about the same time as the ancient Egyptians, although there is no indication of mutual influence. Read more...

c. 2500 BC–c. 1500 BC

Small stone seals with short inscriptions and figural images, frequently of a horned bull, are used by the inhabitants of the Indus Valley or Harappan culture, South Asia's earliest civilization. These seals may have served an administrative function facilitating trade. Read more...

1300 BC–1100 BC

Large anthropomorphic bronze statues are buried in pits along with elephant tusks, trees made of bronze and weapons made of bronze and jade in present-day Sanxingdui in Sichuan county, China. The technical sophistication of these objects and their use of imagery that is strikingly different from that found in central China indicate that early dynastic China consists of not one but several distinctive cultural centres. Read more...

c. 1200 BC

Royal consort Fu Hao is buried in the Shang-dynasty capital in a tomb filled with numerous, large and skilfully crafted bronze vessels, jade implements and ceremonial weapons and lacquer coffins. The only Shang royal tomb found intact, the contents indicate the wealth and sophistication of ancient China and the inscribed oracle bones provide much useful information. Read more...

c. 600 BC

Nomadic peoples of Central Asia, some of whom are known as Scythians, fashion gold horse trappings and portable ornaments, often in the shape of powerful animals. Read more...

c. 550 BC–c. 330 BC

The Oxus Treasure, found on the banks of the Oxus River in Bactria (present-day Uzbekistan), consists of nearly 200 precious objects that may have originally been used for temple rituals. Active trade exchange is indicated by the variety of regional styles visible in the objects in the hoard. Read more...

c. 433 BC

The tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng contains several lacquer-painted carvings of animals, some of which immitate real animals such as ducks, while others represent fanciful beasts with horns and protruding tongues. Read more...


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