c. 5000-3000 BC
Yangshao Culture occurred in the late period of Neolithic Age about 4,950 to 6,950 years ago. This type of pottery was first excavated in Yang-shao village in Honan Province, by a Swede, Andersson, in 1921, hence the name. The Yangshao people settled where the Huang he (Yellow River) bends like an elbow, and turns northeast. They settled there because the area was fertile, and the sandy soil was good for farming. The houses had plastered floors, and their roofs were held up by wooden posts. The Yangshao people lived in Northern China, and nowhere else.
Pottery workshops were distributed along the banks of the Yellow River, centred on Honan Province and the Central Plain of Shensi Province with around 1000 sites so far discovered. Pottery is widely distributed throughout central and western China, along the Yellow River valley area. A characteristic feature is the red pottery with painted decoration in black of geometrical designs, animals and plants. For this reason, it was sometimes referred to as the Painted Pottery Culture, distinguishing it from the Black Pottery Culture of Lung-shan. Many pottery objects of this period appeared in red color, because the local clay contained a high percentage of iron which turned red after firng.
Only a small proportion of Yangshao pottery found was actually painted. Most pieces were simple utensils for eating and drinking - mostly bowls. However some basins or bowls found in Banpo village in the neighborhood of Xi’an, Shensi Province were decorated with a design of human face and fish.
The excavation of 1921 at Yangshao village, revealed this famous neolithic culture. There were over 1,000 discoveries made in this area alone, all representing the Yangshao Culture. This culture covered a large area of land and has left us many ceramic treasures. It was an outstanding culture of the Neolithic Period in China.