This vase is dated in the Chinese neolithic period, Gansu Yangshao culture, Machang phase, 2330-2055 BC. It is made from a buff-colored clay, which shows imperfections and pitting. Two handles are luted to the sides, and it has a truncated neck. It stands 35 cm. tall and is 30 cm. across.
It is painted with mineral pigmented slip of red and black. It flaked off, but seems totally original, a lot of these vases were repainted. The black is painted overa red wash, whatis an indication that is is Machangfase.
There is not anything definite known about the meaning of the design. Whether it is zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, or linguistic is a mystery. This design is seen throughout the Machang phase, and is symmetrical. It could be related to a shamanistic tradition, but there is no proof for that.
The upper inside of the neck is also painted. On the sides are two circles with cross-hatchings. All these jars are undecorated at the underside. Seen the narrow base they could have been partially buried in the soil to stand strong. Thoughts are that these are storage jars made for use and alsoburial purposes. Also used examples went into the grave.
These jars were not wheel turned, but made with a coiling technique. Probably while standing on a mat, or a piece of fabric, which prevented sticking to the ground. This left an imprint on the bottom. The leather hard clay was scraped to thin out the walls.