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Frogs are prolific, leading ancient people to associate them with symbols of the moon and fish as representations of femininity. During the Neolithic period, various frog patterns adorned pottery art, showcasing the animal's realistic features such as its body and limbs. Over time, these depictions evolved into simplified forms with a rounded head and four curved limbs, eventually losing the head altogether and leaving only four curved lines, resembling the swastika motifs in Buddhism.


Ancient people believed that the three-legged bird that carried the sun from the east to the west was a crow. The third leg was actually the bird's male reproductive organ, so birds have always been used as metaphors for the sun and masculinity. Neolithic painted pottery often depicted realistic bird patterns, which clearly showed the worship of the sun and the desire of ancient people to possess the energy of flying like birds in the sky. Over time, the realistic image of birds gradually simplified to only the bird's head, with only the eyes painted. Eventually, it evolved into abstract geometric patterns that resemble petals and leaves of plants.


Ancient mythology stated that there was a giant "Fusang" tree on the earth, with ten suns hanging above it. Every morning, a three-legged divine bird would carry the suns from the east to the west, in an endless cycle. Later, Hou Yi shot down nine suns, relieving humanity from the heat. In the Sanxingdui site in Guanghan, Sichuan, two bronze trees from the Shang dynasty were unearthed. One was the Fusang tree, with branches growing upwards; the other was the weeping willow, with branches hanging down. These two trees symbolised the east and west respectively, in accordance with the mythology. The mythology actually mentioned that besides the two divine trees of Fusang and willow, there was also a great tree called "Jianmu" in the central position, which stood sky high and connected heaven and earth.


In the Neolithic era, cooking utensils were primarily made of pottery and had a circular shape. They were designed to be placed over a fire for cooking food. It was believed that having at least three legs on these utensils was necessary for stability, rather than just two. There were two main types of three-legged designs during this period: one resembling a woman's breast, symbolizing the source of nourishment through breast milk; and the other resembling the muscular thighs of animals representing a rich source of meat.

The main cooking vessels of that time were known as "ding" and "li". The "ding" featured solid three legs, while the "li" had hollow legs for support.


A site of ancient cultural remains dating back 7,000 years was discovered in modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. In addition to the rich cultural relics unearthed, architectural structures of wooden houses were found, together with evidences of raising livestock and growing rice. The Hemudu culture represents the early agricultural society of China. The pig pattern engraved on one of the potteries shows that the Hemudu culture had already attained a high level of craftsmanship.


In ancient times, people admired the sun during the day and the moon at night. The light of the sun and the moon were sources of energy for them. Besides birds in the sky, ancient people also had a special fondness for fish in the water because they marvelled at the fish's ability to thrive in the underwater. Furthermore, fish would lay many eggs, symbolising femininity and yin energy of the moon, thus creating a harmonious balance with the masculine yang energy of the sun. Therefore, fish designs were commonly found on Neolithic pottery. Initially beginning as realistic portrayals, these fish designs eventually simplified to intricate net-like scales or just the distinctive triangular fish head. When two triangular fish heads faced each other, they transformed into geometric patterns that no longer resembled fish, sometimes evolving into completely abstract intersecting lines.


Ancient people worshipped the sun. The brightness and heat of the sun allow living things to grow. As early as the Neolithic period, artifacts have been discovered with different forms of symbols representing the sun. Ancient people believed that these symbols would bring them the enduring power of the sun. Symbols representing the sun include toothed wheels, eight-pointed stars, rice patterns, and cross patterns. The lines in these symbols primarily represent the rays of the sun.


During the Neolithic period, glazes were not yet used, so people could only carve lines on pottery as decoration. Later, they learned to use black and red pigments to paint patterns on pottery. This type of Neolithic pottery with painted designs is called "painted pottery". The painted designs on painted pottery were mainly found on the inside of bowls and the upper half of jars. The outside of bowls and the lower half of jars were usually left undecorated. This design indicated that the vessels at that time were placed on the ground, so the view could not reach their outside or lower half parts.


In the Neolithic period thousands of years ago, pottery jars were often equipped with lids, not for reasons of hygiene, but rather to preserve the contents stored within. Early civilisations recognised the delightful taste of fruit wine and sought to prevent the alcohol from evaporating by using these lids for storage. Thus, the design of covered jars and bottles in ancient times was primarily tailored for the purpose of storing and preserving wine.


Ceramics are objects made by burning clay with fire. Though under the same umbrella, pottery and porcelain are not the same, considering their ability to withstand different firing temperatures. While pottery is fired at around 1000°C, porcelain is fired at above 1200°C. The higher the firing temperature, the stronger the object’s body. Yet, if the clay used is not resistant to high temperature, the object would crack or even break into pieces. As a result, the use of various clay could create various types of pottery and porcelain.

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