Neolithic Water Vessel

Yangshao Culture, 5000 BC - 3000 BC
Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an

This pottery water vessel (ping), excavated from Jiangzhai village in Lintong county, bears a circular design that the museum label interprets as a human face. There is an approximate right-left symmetry about the vertical mid-axis of the design, and also a rotational symmetry via a 180-degrees half turn. The rotational symmetry is exact as to the interchange of top and bottom elements, but inexact as to the interior, of the design. Corresponding parts of the design, on either side of its vertical axis, are oppositely colored.

The shape of the vessel is like a tapered jug, with a smaller cup set on top. It has two small pierced handles, about midway up the body.