Pottery amphora, Yangshao culture

Description: This olive-shaped bottle with pointed bottom is one of the most typical Banpo type, part of the Yangshao culture. It was discovered in Shaanxi province. Its fired, unglazed surface is orange-red and it has a rather thick wall. Two ear-shaped handles are firmly attached to either side in the middle of the body, giving it a beautiful symmetry. It was used as water-fetching bottle, with a string going through the handles. When it was thrown into the water, the top dipped down and then the amphora flipped over as it was filled with water. The surface of the amphora is decorated with carefully carved lines dividing the body into two parts: from shoulder to belly the direction of lines is 30 degrees; from mouth to shoulder the lines are almost parallel. It is hard to believe that such a utilitarian object was so well designed and ornate.

Provenance: An Australian collection

Reference: For a similar vessel of this type, see Dawn of the Yellow Earth, Regina Krahl, 2000, P52


Yangshao culture, Banpo type, 5th millennium BCE

27cm high