Once we believe that all farmers made pots. From about 1950 onwards, it has been proved that the earliesrt farmers of Palestine, Cyprus, Kurdistan and Baluchistan did not make pots.(Childe,1964.87)They preferred leather bags to carry or store water.Myanma hill people use bamboo tubes to carry and store water.Myanma even today use bamboo tubes to cook glutinous rice.Pots have two great advantages: easily procurable and inexpensive.They, however, had two disavantages: theay are weighty and fragile.
The earliest convincingly date pottery is no more than 10,000 years before present(BP),(Gowlett 1984. 164). It is not easy to say when or where pottery first appered.West Asia probaby did not have pottery before 9,000 years BP. Baked clay figurines, however were made as early as 30,000 years BP. Japanese archaeologists claim that they had pots during 12,000- 12,000 years BP. Spirit Cave in Thailand produced potsherds of 8,800 years BP. Pottery of Hsienjentung in China has similar date. North Africa (except Egypt) has pottery as early as 8,000 years BP. Mehrgrh of Baluchistan had very fine pottery before 6,000 years BP. Quite a plentiful of clay statuettes and figurines were also found there. Coarse potsherds found at Badut Hlaing( Badalin Cave) of Myanma, were of 12,000- 10,000 years BP. The rock art found in that cave were also of that period wheb the weather conditions change from pluvial (very heavy rain) to present day weather of moderate rain. They are not neolithic as mentioned in an archaeological report of 1969. (Aung Thaw, 1969 ,13).
The earliest pottery was all hand- made. The potter's wheel and spindlers whorl were introduced in about 6,000 years BP. It was long before the wheel appears on road to haul loads on carriages drawn by ox and horse. But this primitive method survives until now to make very larde vessels. Pottery need only about 800' C (1,472'F) temperature to make it, where as porcelain requires temperatures up to 1,450'C( 2,672'F) . We cannot say how Myanma or Mon to be more definite, discovered glazing. Bagan pagodas have glazed clay decoration and glazed bricks for floor fame from about the 14 century AD( 600 years BP).One Madama( Moketama) Jar was shown in London Great Exhibition in 1851. Recently Madama( Moketama ) Jars date 15 February 1870 are found at Yin Nyein( Myo Thant Tin 2001, 132, 135 & 145- 147).
Using the termoluminescent test, postsherds are datable. Like artifacts, the potsherds help us to know even about the daily life of the early man, especially on his diet and dress.As television is ineasy access to villager even in remote places, considerable changes appear in rural life. In the case of braked clay pots they might survive in spite of the competition of steel utensils. etc. Because they are cheap and produced locally.
28 July 2001
from the book of Myanma Terracottas by Than Tun
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