This small size animal is a bit of a mystery. It is made of a reddish pottery and measures 11 cm. It is hand sculptured and is hollow, with a hole in the back. First there is the nature of the beast, and I came to the provisional conclusion that it is an elephant. (female)
The two cultures that stand out as possibilities are the Quijialing culture 3000 – 2600 bC, or the subsequent Shijiahe culture 2400-2000 bC. The site was unearthed at Tianmen County, Hubei, China. The upper layer of the type site belonged to the Qujialing culture. The site at Shijiahe covered an area of around 1,200,000 m². The settlement was surrounded by a moat and earth wall. The type site was likely a regional center.Shijiahe is one of the largest towns excavated so far—almost a perfect square, one kilometer on each side. This was a period in which villages and towns expanded symmetrically in oval, square, rectangle and trapezoid shapes.(wikipedia)
Next to af few human figures the pits contained several thousand animal figures including pigs, dogs, sheep, oxen, chickens, monkeys, elephants, tigers, turtles, wild chickens, and peacocks. They were probably used in ritual ceremonies.
The information is scarce and I hope that I described this piece right. The wear of the clay seems to point to ancient times, and it is clearly not made in a mould, as later wares in later Han and Tang times.
Anyone with more information is very welcome !