News from Temixwten: First positively-identified Neolithic Asian ceramic tool found in North America!

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21 Faces of
The God That Man Forgot
From the Charm Altars at Temixwten

12) Pocket Blade

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Temixwten Artifact: 45-WH-5-1506

Description: HERE THE face of the One-Eyed God is exaggerated so that it is entirely composed of one feature, the full Caucasian beard, which is also a dancing stream, a motif also seen on blades like 45-WH--5-1415.

A flamboyant Chinese dragon with a flowing mane forms the One-Eyed God's nose on this blade, as seen in the photo at right. On the left side of the One-Eyed God's beard face there is a section that reflects light. This pocket blade must have been impressive in flickering fire light.

These effects -- the flambouyant silver-colored dragon, the mirrored section and the flowing stream-- have all been created with the first of two startling technical aspects of this Asian-made ceramic piece.

As seen in the photo at right, it appears that a silver metal that does not tarnish or corode -- probably tin -- has been sintered all over the face of the One-Eyed God, and then sculpted to create the stream, the dragon, etc.

The white claybody suggests that it may be made of Kaolin clay. Also, nanocrystals from the tin may have helped whiten the remaining surfaces of the piece when it was fired the first time.

On this white backdrop a delightful collection of scenes and effects have been painted in cobalt oxide. There is also opaque white over glazing on top of the cobalt dioxide in places, which could be tin dioxide or Kaolin clay.

This piece is fluted on top and finished exceptionally well on all the polished surfaces. The manmade jade is also breathtaking. This is a Neolithic ceramic masterpiece.

* * *

LIKE ALL the ceramic artifacts from Temixwten, this piece helps time the rise of the Salish in what we now call the Pacific Northwest, beginning 7,000 or more years ago.

A Temixwten charm in the form of a C-dragon -- complete with the "ancestor in mouth" motif -- indicates that the Salish migrations out of Asia to the Pacific Northwest began before the domestication of the horse became a huge, world changing development.

However, based on the evidence at Temixwten, it apears that there was a much bigger influx of immigrants to Temixwten after the domestication of the horse, maybe 6,000 years ago, and then another influx during the early Dynastic Period in China, maybe 3,000 years ago, at the dawn of glazed ceramic stoneware in China and Northeast Asia. This correlates to the so-called Charles or St. Mungo Culture Phase when the Salish expanded and conquered most of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the subsesquent Locarno Beach Culture Phase observed at Salish sites in British Columbia.

The thousands of Asian-made charms and other artifacts found at Temixwten clearly demonstrate that the Salish had numbers at the time they exploded on the North American scene, but they also had superior technology.

The thing that makes this kind of ceramic tool exceptional are its edges, both their number and their sharpness. It is possible to produce a ceramic stone blade that is significantly sharper than almost any natural stone blade, except volcanic glass.

* * *

NOTE: Because the Chinese apparently do not possess any stoneware from the earliest lithic phase of their long and glorious history of ceramic manufacture (namely from the very beginning when stoneware was an exciting new material for making stone tools), I believe that the Asian-made ceramic pieces in the Museum of the Salish collection are the oldest Chinese ceramic stoneware artifacts ever found anywhere in the world, including China.

I believe this is the oldest example of tin-glazed pottery in the world, and also the oldest example of painting with cobalt oxide on ceramics.

Technology: ceramic stoneware cut, sculpted and wet polished before firing, then fired multiple times to tin glaze, paint with cobalt oxide, and finally over glaze with opaque white stippling.

Approximate Age: 3,300 years ago

Basis for Age Estimate: I date this piece on the appearance of the florid Chinese dragon on this extremely finely polished piece. This suggests this dates to the Early Dynastic period in China , or perhaps 3,300 years ago.

Provenance: Collected at Temixwten by the property owner. Museum of the Salish Collection.

 

45-WH-5-1506

Flowing Beard: here the face of the One-Eyed God is exaggerated so that it is entirely composed of one feature, the full Caucasian beard, which is also a dancing stream.

45-WH-5-1506

Very Interesting: this side view shows that this pocket blade has some sort of silver metal -- possibly tin - sintered to the faux broken surface. The beautifully finished bottom has apparently been painted with cobalt oxide before firing.

45-WH-5-1506

Dragon Ho: A florid Chinese dragon with flowing mane graces the right corner of 45-WH-5-1506. The carving and polishing on this piece of man made jade are exceptional.


© Copyright 2011 - 2015 by Bruce Brown and The Museum of the Salish.

The Museum of the Salish
P.O. Box 393
Sumas, WA 98295 USA
(360) 927-3234

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21 Faces of
THE GOD THAT MAN FORGOT
From the Charm Altars at Temixwten

by Bruce Brown

Table of Contents
21 Temixwten Artifacts Presented in Apparent Chronological Order

introduction thumbnail Introduction to the Exhibit
by Bruce Brown
Abstract
 
45-WH-5-1205 thumbnail
1) Charm
45-WH-5-1205
7,500 years ago

45-WH-5-1691 thumbnail
2) Charm
45-WH-5-1691

6,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1641 thumbnail
3) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1641

6,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1556 thumbnail
4) Charm
45-WH-5-1556
6,000 years ago


45-WH-5-1182 thumbnail
5) Ceremonial Celt
45-WH-5-1182
6,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1491 thumbnail
6) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1491
6,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1476 thumbnail
7) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1476
5,800 years ago
45-WH-5-1201 thumbnail
8) Charm
45-WH-5-1201
5,800 years ago
45-WH-5-1552 thumbnail
9) Charm
45-WH-5-1552
5,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1632 thumbnail10) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1632

5,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1656 thumbnail11) Ceramic Core
45-WH-5-1656

3,500 years ago
45-WH-5-1506 thumbnail12) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1506

3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1415 thumbnail13) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1415
3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1629 thumbnail14) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1629

3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1513 thumbnail
15) Charm
45-WH-5-1513
3,300 years ago
45-WH-5-1477 thumbnail16) Charm
45-WH-5-1477
3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1436 thumbnail17) Pocket Blade
45-WH-5-1436

3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1710 thumbnail18) Charm
45-WH-5-1710

3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1050 thumbnail19) Charm
45-WH-5-1678

3,000 years ago
45-WH-5-1050 thumbnail20) Charm
45-WH-5-1050

2,800 years ago
45-WH-5-1281 thumbnail21) Charm
45-WH-5-1281

2,500 years ago
     
With a Selected Online Bibliography.