The Yang shao culture (c. 5000-3000 b.c.) located in the middle region of the Yellow River (Huang-ho) was at its zenith in the fifth millenium b.c. A complex neolithic settlement was discovered at the village of Pan-po near Sian in Shansi province which became the namesake to a whole range of ceramic artifacts made in this region. Pan-po phase (4800-4300 b.c.) pottery is rich in shapes and decorative techniques including painting.
The beauty of this relatively plain bowl, however, is based on its fine, even potting and well-proportioned profile. Thin walled and perfectly hemispherical in shape, this elegant vessel exemplifies the highest standard of hand-built ceramic production. Evidence from excavation sites around Pan-po suggests that large bowls such as this were sometimes used as lids to funerary urns.