Large Jomon Pot
The ceramic vessels made in the Japanese archipelago in the Jomon period (10,55 BC-400 BC) represent the oldest known dated pottery making tradition in the world. The word Jomon means cord-marked and the period takes its name from the characteristic cord-marked decoration, which adorned many of the pots at this time. These distinctive vessels were usually coil or slab built without the use of the wheel, and fired in bonfires of temperatures of up to 700 degrees centigrade. Recent discoveries in northern Honshu at Odai Yamamoto suggest that pottery was being made in the Japanese archipelago in the Late Palaeolithic, by 16,000 years ago. These very early vessels were the precursors to the long tradition of Jomon ceramics, made by the foraging peoples who occupied the archipelago prior to the appearance of rice agriculture in the Yayoi period (c. 400 BC). The predominant form of vessel was the wide-mouthed cooking pot, but as time passed a diversity of shapes was developed, to include finer serving vessels, spouted vessels, jars and lamps.
Nicole Rousmaniere, 1997