Neolithic period marked the transition of man from food gatherer to food producer. Some of the noteworthy achievements for the mankind during this period were development of agriculture, permanent settlement, improvised weapons and tools, developments in the field of art and architecture, etc. In fact, Neolithic art is one of the most important identity of this era, which has helped historians and archaeologists solve several mysteries about the development of human race. On the basis of Neolithic pottery, this period is categorized into three segments: Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, and Pottery Neolithic.
The Neolithic period, also referred to as the New Stone Age or Neolithic era, was the last phase of Stone Age. It was typically characterized by immense development in various fields of life. Even though the exact period tends to differ from one source to another, the Neolithic period is believed to have existed between 9000 BC to 2000 BC. This was the historic period wherein man began practicing agriculture and domestication of animals. Yet another interesting attribute of this period, was the development in field of art; artifacts like pottery, sculptures of mother goddess, and stone monuments known as megaliths, validate this fact very well.
As humans began practicing agriculture, it saved them the time they otherwise wasted roaming from one place to another in search of food. Along with development in agriculture, this period was also marked by the use of refined weapons and tools, which could be used to do a lot more than merely digging the ground or hunting animals. As time elapsed, man learned many new things, which included the use of new tools for sculpting, creating pottery, painting, etc.
Neolithic art predominantly consisted of sculpture, pottery, painting, and architecture. Even though in crude form, sculpture did exist in prehistoric times. What changed during the Neolithic period was the fact that it became way more refined than what it was before. In fact, the practice of sculpting was virtually wiped off during the Mesolithic period (the period which preceded Neolithic period), but when it made a comeback, it did leave its mark. Most of the statuettes belonging to this period were themed around fertility and female deity, mother goddess. The megaliths, i.e., the memorial monuments made from large blocks of stone, formed yet another attribute of Neolithic art. Other than these artifacts, archaeologists have also come across animal statuettes belonging to this era.
It was in this period that man mastered the art of preparing statuettes of clay by baking them. You will notice that the statuettes belonging to this era are not restricted to rock carving. Even the field of painting was subjected to same refinement, as this form of art moved from caves to proper settlement walls. The journey from cave paintings to wall paintings during the Neolithic period added a decorative element to human settlements. Even the practice of making pottery got a major boost when man realized that clay could be given desired shape and baked to make it more durable. Other than ceramic pottery, archaeologists have also come across evidence of the use of ornaments during this period at various excavation sites.
The most important characteristic trait of New Stone Age art was the fact that all the artifacts from this period were created for a certain purpose, ranging from use in day-to-day life to decoration, and that is the best evidence of our evolution during this period.