Byzantine and Russian icons, £15.99
Height: 11.500 cm
Width: 6.700 cm
Room 54: Anatolia and Urartu
Anatolian Chalcolithic, around 5000 BC
Possibly from Hacilar, modern Turkey
This painted jar, shaped like a female figure, is similar to a type of pottery found at Hacilar, excavated by James Mellaart between 1957 and 1960. The potters at this site were able to produce high-quality wares with beautifully executed, bright geometric designs. The ceramics were well shaped and were evenly fired. Along with jars and bowls, clay female figurines were common. However, the only vessels of this type excavated at Hacilar were much larger and fragmentary.
Pottery workshops were found in a earlier level at Hacilar, in the village centre. Grindstones were used to break up the natural pigments of red and yellow ochre for colouring the pottery. Alongside them were cups of paint, storage areas for the clay and modeling tools, and unpainted but burnished pottery. No kilns were discovered and the firing may have taken place outside the settlement. This type of pottery has also been found at other sites in western Anatolia, and at Mersin, on the south-east coast of Turkey.
By the beginning of the fifth millennium BC, Hacilar had been abandoned, and with the end of the settlement came an end to the fine pottery tradition.
D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)