News from Temixwten: First positively-identified Neolithic Asian ceramic tool found in North America!
|Temixwten Artifact: 45-WH-5-1436
Description: HAVE YOU seen the stock photos of the California coast where the highway signs read "Road Ends"? Well, this deluxe pocket blade is the equivalent for the trend toward greater and greater stylization in the treatment of the One-Eyed God and the diety's constituent components seen so far in The God That Man Forgot exhibit.
This is the end of the road. Everything on this piece is completely minimalist. The surface is simple blackfired clay. The forms are reduced to sharply faceted shapes on Side 1, and on Side 2 the required components of the One-Eyed God -- the dragon forming the eye, the snake forming the mouth, and the White Dragon on the nose, are all reduced to their simpliest forms in naked space.
And here's the shocker. These figures are sitting on top of the conchoidal fracture of the blade face! Folks, this simply can't happen in the natural world. This is simply an impossibility. So as with the very curious recessed and bevelled triangle that forms the eye of the One-Eyed God, the features of the god as they are presented here are a lithic impossibility in the natural world.
But in a way, isn't that one way of defining the divine? As a receptical for -- and agent of -- things that are impossible in the normal world?
The only way this little snake and dragon could be placed on top of the concoidal surface would be if the ceramic blade was flaked after the first firing, and then the snake and the Chinese dragon were englobed on the conchoidal face as a decorative slip before the blade was finally placed back in the kiln a second time and blackfired.
There appear to be v-shaped snakeskin symbols incised on the blackened part of the Serpent's face in the bottom photo, as well as some incising and boring in the unblackened green stripe on the Serpent's face.
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45-WH-5-1436 is both a charm and a handy pocket blade that could be carried almost anywhere. This configuration is also seen in 45-WH-5-1415 and 45-WH-5-1629 and 45-WH-5-1641 in The God That Man Forgot exhibit.
In this case, the pocket blade is actually a multi-blade, delivering six cutting edges in one quite compact packages.
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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.
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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.
Technology: ceramic stoneware cut, bored and incised when leather hard, then fired with sculptural slip and partially masked for the second black firing.
Basis for Age Estimate: I date this piece on the basis of the extreme stylization of the requisite elements. It's hard to imagine how the serpent and the One-Eyed God could be simplied more. Therefore I believe this piece comes near the end of the One-Eyed God's run.
Approximate Age: 3,000 years ago
Provenance: Collected at Temixwten by the property owner. Museum of the Salish Collection.
Minimalist: this rakish, highly stylized Asian-made ceramic pocket blade has been blackfired all over.
Chinese Chinese Dragon Head and Snake: here we see small ceramic figures of a dragon neck and head and snake on top of a conchoidal fracture face. From the fine tracings, it looks like there may have once been a white snake or dragon decoration on the top part.
Stylish Two-Tone: this ceramic pocket blade piece may have been fired twice -- first with a chrome oxide wash to give it the green background color, and then black fired to give it the black overlay.
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