Two weeks ago, 1600-year-old Haji-ki, Haji pottery arrived.
Think about it. On the other side of the earth, about this time, the Roman Empire(Western) fell.
The pot took ten days since it started its journey from Nara, Japan, to San Rafael, California. The pot is big, round, and thin. While waiting for its arrival, and even after receiving the box from the courier, I was a nervous wreck. Rarely a vessel from the era (Kofun period - 300AD to 538 AD) survived in this good condition. It survives for a reason; I'll let you know why later. I was nervous. What if I broke it? Well, I did not pack it, am not the shipper, and did not throw the box into a truck or airplane. It doesn't matter. That's not the point. It was my decision, and it was my responsibility. If it came out of the box broken, how can I apologize to the potter who made it thousands of years ago, to the pot itself, to the families and folks who used it, and to the long time that passed protecting the pot?
It is big, round, thin, and glorious.
No new damage whatsoever.
The breakage at the collar happened millennia ago.
Haji-pottery evolved from Yayoi pottery in the Yayoi period (300 BCE to 300 AD) to the Kofun period (300 AD to 538 AD). They were primarily used in the household, storing food and eating utensils.
The shape, or the design of this pot, is breathtakingly stunning. The curvature and balance are as excellent as any significant pots in history and now. The collar has considerable damage, but the rest is perfect. A few examples survived from this era show big cracks or put broken pieces glued together. Meaning they are mostly broken pieces. Why, then, this pot survived in this good condition? Because it was deep under the river for over a millennium. During that time, the surface and inside of the pot were protected by and in contact with the finest grain of sand. As a result, its shape remained unbroken, and its color changed from muddy terracotta to exquisite white beige. Yet the original geometric pattern to decorate the surface made by scratching stayed here and there, as in the below images.
The inside of the Vessel
is where a Secret Time Travel happens.
- Making strands of clay;
- Coiling up to make the rough shape;
- Smoothing out the outside and inside of a pot;
- Refining the form;
- Decorating the surface and interior with a wooden fork-like tool;
- Firing it.
Also, a very interesting and widely accepted surmise is that women made the early unglazed pottery. Men helped with the work from clay mining to product transportation—another seed of thoughts and research for some other time.
It has the beauty you can feel with your body, not your brain.
Seeing this magnitude of beauty created 1.6 millennia ago is spellbinding. It is the same level of beauty as the paintings in the Chauvet cave, as mentioned earlier.
They used the vessel on the mud floor of their dwelling, buried halfway to the ground. As such, the bottom is round and cannot stand alone. I put it on the ring made to fit it and to be stable. You can choose the angle of your liking.
You get to live with a striking object created during the time of Alexander the Great or Pythagoras was active.
It is a big responsibility, but it will reward you visually and spiritually.
Please feel free to ask away any questions you may have.
Food storage jar,
Circa Kofun period (300 AD to 538 AD),
Size: 34” h X 37” diameter,
Price: Please Inquire.