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0179 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 179 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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process of paring and thinning the wall after the vessel has been reversed and reseated. It is really a technical fault which the potter has often partially effaced by scraping again when the wheel was stationary.

Of globular jars B. ii. 198 (Pl. XIII) is grey and B. ii. 205-8 (Pl. XVII) are greyish-brown. All are of substantial thickness and strong enough for ordinary use. The large wide-mouthed bowl B. ii. 202 (Pl. XIII) is similar to B. ii. 201 on the same plate, but grey.

Decoration. Sir Aurel Stein has already described the painted decoration on this ware, and the following remarks are given merely in amplification of certain details.

Many of the vessels are quite plain and such motifs as are used on the decorated ones are few. One of the most frequent motifs is the leaf garland placed round the upper part of several globular jars and the two large bowls B. ii. 201, 202 (Pl. XIII) . The undulating midrib of the three examples on this plate is in slight relief, as are also the border lines of the decorative band on the jar B. ii. 198. It will be seen that the edges of the leaf are serrated in B. ii. 198 and 202, but smooth in 201. Of the four examples on Pl. XVII, B. ii. 206, 207, and 212 have smooth edges. B. ii. 205 is peculiar, having no midrib but groups of horns on the blade of the leaf. (Cf. Barn. A. 162 (Pl. XIV), where the midrib has no blade but a beast occupies each of the hollows.) The background of the garland is hatched. Simplified garlands appear on the jars D. 249 (Pl. Xv); F. i. 271 (Pl. XVI) ; B. i. 119, ii. 211 (Pl. XVII). This garland motif is very widespread and occurs on the pottery from Bampûr, Damin, Katukan, Chah Husain; Shahi-tump, Kéj valley; Sistan and elsewhere. Its influence is traceable in a very great amount of the decoration on `chalcolithic' pottery.

The paint used on the pottery varies in colour from dense black to a sienna brown. The variation in colour may be attributable to various causes, such as the composition of the colour itself, the extent of dilution in applying it, the character of the body or of the surface wash (slip), and the inequality of firing. Ceramic colours much diluted or badly compounded sometimes lack the necessary proportion of `flux' and do not adhere firmly. The influence of time and the conditions of burial would also have their effect. This condition is sometimes mistaken for unfired, non-ceramic painting. It also happens that an unsuitable slip will flake off, bringing the paint with it, as is the case with the jar B. ii. 205 (Pl. XVII ), and others, or leaving a mere ghost of the pattern on the underlying body.

A curious effect is produced when the excess moisture used in diluting the paint for convenience of working, spreads beyond the limits of the painted line and forms a sort of aura, just as a blot of ink on moist blotting-paper will do. This is frequently found on some grey ware. In certain examples the paint seems to have exhaled a vaporous influence during firing, which has communicated itself to adjacent vessels and has produced a nebulous version of the pattern thereon. The practice of firing bowls nested one within the other is, in their case, the chief contributary cause of this result. An interesting example occurs in the bowl B. ii. 162 (Pl. XVI) , where the border of horns from the outside of one bowl has imprinted a reversed offset on the inside of the other. This also explains why, in this solitary instance among Khurab bowls, the horns are bending from left to right.