The Mystery of Banpo’s Fish Face Painted Pottery

There are many colored pottery unearthed in Banpo. Colored pottery is the most representative cultural type of Yangshao culture. The development of painted pottery experienced a process from pictographic pattern to geometric decorative pattern. This is exactly the development process of primitive painting from realism to freehand . Most of the pictograms depict animals and plants in nature, whether they are swallowing fish, running deer or standing birds, or beating frogs, they are very rich in life. There are only a few strokes, but the images are vivid and realistic, and they are intriguing. Perhaps the most evocative is the mysterious human face fish pattern.

The scorpion fish pattern has a circular composition, and the picture consists of a human head and a fish. The round face has a pair of smiling eyes, the nose is like an inverted T, the mouth is open with a big smile, and there are two fishes on both sides of the mouth. What does it mean? Are people eating fish? It may not be that simple, because the image of man and fish does not exist in nature. This appeared in the era of Banpo people who were good at depicting natural objects, probably with a deeper meaning. So, is it begging for the richness of fish or the population? It seems that the laughter of the Banpo people is as mysterious as the smile of the famous Mona Lisa. At present, there have been nearly 30 expressions in the research of the fish pattern on the human face in academia. Some think that it reflects the ancient totem worship year, some think it is a wizard mask, and some think it is a grass carp or baby birth. No matter what ideology the Banpo people use to express it , the creative motivation that they can condense such rich social content into the art of painting is amazing. This is exactly the charm of primitive art.

At the beginning of creation, perhaps it only has a certain specific meaning, but its form contains one of the most precious characteristics of human beings-free creation in practice. Even though we may never know its true meaning, they still give people a strong impression and a sense of beauty, making people recall the long history.

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