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red clay plate with black designs on it

Mesopotamian plate, made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon

West Asia was probably the first place on earth where people began to use clayto make pottery dishes and bowls and cups, about 5000 BC in the late Stone Age. By about 3500 BC, people began to make geometric designs on their dishes, partly to make the dishes more beautiful, and partly to identify the city or tribe they belonged to. This plate is a copy of one from the Sumerian period, about 3000 BC.

You can make a Mesopotamian plate of your own by painting Mesopotamian designs like these on to a plain clay dish like those sold in garden centers to go under flowerpots. Or, make your own clay dish and then paint it.

More about Sumerian art

Bibliography and further reading about Mesopotamia:

Molding clay bricks
Bicycle racing
Backgammon project
West Asian games
A day in West Asia
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