|Early Chinese Ceramics
The production and decoration of ceramics is inseparable from the development of Chinese culture. Made throughout Chinese history, ceramics have been used as ritual and utilitarian objects, as furnishings for tombs, as marks of imperial status, as luxuries for display and for trade, and in daily life.
Ceramic vessels are associated with most of China's Neolithic civilizations. The most striking and numerous are those produced by the Yangshao culture that flourished in north-central and northwest China from about 5000 to 1500 B.C.E. The Yangshao culture is generally divided into six phases, each of which is named for an archaeological site and characterized by the creation of earthenwares painted in shades of black, red, and brown. The shapes and decorations of these ceramics, however, vary from phase to phase.