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Journal Article



Li,  Tao
Eurasia3angle, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Li, T. (2019). 红山文化无底筒形器的“专业化”生产问题. 北方文物, 01, 22-31.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-9C82-9
Tongxingqi (or bottomless painted pottery cylinders), to a great extent, represents the techniques and skill levels of pottery production in the Hongshan period. Conventionally, Tongxingqi is thought to be products of pottery specialization, although it is not clearly defined to what form and level of pottery production the term “specialization” refers to. The present article, based on a compositional analysis of non-utilitarian (mainly Tongxingqi) and utilitarian vessel sherds from the Hongshan core zone, argues that: (1) No single or centralized pottery production existed in the core zone; instead, pottery production should have been organized and carried out (mostly) independently in each of the three investigated districts, and the pottery products were consumed mainly by households within each district; (2) The Tongxingqi and utilitarian pottery showed no signifiant difference in their chemical compositions, and they were produced by the same pottery production source units. Therefore, it is highly likely that both non-utilitarian and utilitarian pottery were produced using locally procured clay; and (3) The customarily conceived high level of pottery specialization does not apply to the pottery making in the Hongshan period. It is suggested that the term “specialization”, without a consensus of clear definition, should better not be used to describe the pottery production in the Hongshan period.