D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Banpo Pottery


Banpo Pottery and Poetry


Banpo poetry is entirely image based.  It is derived from Neolithic geometric and zoomorphic designs found on Banpo pottery of the Yangshao civilization in China circa 5000 – 3000 B.C.E.  Perhaps ten per cent of these pottery images involve frog or fish.

It appears that some geographic locations were more focused on the frog while other areas favored the fish. For instance, the fish images are often also associated with humans and in this case are classified as 人面  which may be transliterated  as “renminyu” and translated as “fish-face humans.

The images of Banpo pottery also may be regarded as precursors of Taoist philosophy.  For example, there are geometric patterns of dark and light which may express increase and decrease. Some patterns unite two while simultaneously disuniting them. Zoomorphic patterns morph from fish-face to face-fish, too. .  The eyes of the frogs and fish resemble the eggs of them as the white dot was later expressed on the black side of a swimming frog-fish. The images may have been derived from both experience of the natural on earth and the observation of the supra-natural in the north circumpolar region


It was the North Circumpolar Rectangle that Banpo society focused on.  The design above of two fish facing each other or one fish-face with two different attributes (sides) may exemplify the NCP.  It runs the full length of the fish dividing the areas of change  ie. processes of increase and decrease.  In one sense, the rectangle represents still water and that which does not change. 

The NCP is divided both vertically and horizontally.  Vertically, it is divided into four equal sections –- perhaps symbolic of the four stars at the corners. These may be the areas of ritual or that which does not change.  Each section is also divided horizontally into two equal parts or upper and lower.  This might suggest  rituals which consist of two parts.  It is possible that the two eyes represent the two pole stars or 11 and 10 Draconis.  As wholes they might be regarded as equal in size and the same, but as parts they might be considered as small black dots within larger white circles or unequal and different.

Banpo poetry evolves the pottery themes of frog and fish through the combination of them into frog-fish.  It reflects the development of the frog which begins as an egg, develops a tail or fish-like attribute and finally legs and lung of the frog.  As an amphibian it can live on land and as a fish it can live in water. It can now breathe air.

This poetry does not concentrate on the human face, but rather focuses on the whole body. It portrays a frog-fish human.  It is a new human zoomorphic-geometric form. This form lives on land, water and in space. It breathes artificial air. Its limbs are mechanical.  It journeys to the stars from which it came.   Its final form is crystalline in the vacuum of space outlined by stars which include those of the NCP and the Dippers. 

Banpo Poetry A