|Another type of pottery found at Banpo was of fine red, but decorated with ink drawings. This bowl, and other similar bowls, have become symbolic of Banpo. The human head with fish designs occurs in different combinations. Xia Nai (1956) suggested that the two fish to the left and right of the head and the triangular shape on the head indicate some type of traditional dress and jewelry.
Below, the sketch provided by Xia Nai shows two more designs. Haskins, when recounting Xia's work, hypothesized that the fish to either side of the head are ear decorations. The fish is a common decoration, not only in Banpo, but in other early Neolithic digs around the world. There are a number of reasons that settlements followed the course of rivers; ready water, transportation, protection, but the convenience of having a food supply swim by should be close to the top,
Below the sketches are two photographs of the interior of a bowl, showing the head and the fish. Just to the sides of the two photographs you can see parts of other figures. In the case of the head, it is the tip of the fish shown below it.
Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010