These thin-walled pots have a great beauty to them, even in restored condition like this one. They were made in present Gansu or Qinghai province, and this culture is sometimes called Gansu Yangshao. This culture was mostly a stone age culture, and bronze was really rare. These vessels are found in graves, near to the head of the deceased. Mostly there were just one or a few pieces in one grave, with a few exceptions.
On the rim there is a Cowry shell motive, a monetary object, for trade. If you locate the region on the map, you can see why these shells were rare. The Chinese character for money derives from this shell.
The painting is made from mineral-based pigments of black and purple, fired on in the kiln. A similar piece can be found in the Freer Sackler accession number S2012.9.186
Collection nr. 09-15