This earthenware cup with a handle came from the Yangshou culture (5000-3000 BCE) of the Neolithic period in China. It has a reddish hue and a painted decoration of a fish on its body. Banpo Village is most famous for its fish designs on pottery. There are more than 12 types of fish designs. The fish and net reflects the culture that existed then. Banpo Village was situated by a river and fishing was one of the major occupations. On a more abstract level, scholars say that the simple and almost joyful drawings on the pottery reflect and era that was relatively peaceful and stable. In Chinese, the word “fish” mean “prolific reproduction” it is a symbol of a hope to have unending posterity. Scholars feel that meaning and the use of the fish symbol might have originated from this period.

Neolithic Period, Yangshao Culture, 5000-3000 BCE
Banpo village, Xi-an prefecture, Shaanxi province, China
Object size: H: 9.3 x W: 11x D: 9 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum