Many thousands of years ago, our earliest
ancestors were nomadic tribes that survived
by foraging the wild for food and shelter.
During the Neolithic era, human groups first
began to settle down permanently,
establishing villages and communities.
However, without new technological
innovations, this sedentary culture would not
have been possible. Foremost among these
discoveries were agriculture and tool-making,
both of which enabled humans to transform
their natural environment into a sustainable
society. Many thousands of years ago, the
area presently covered by modern China was
made up of distinct regions each with their
own unique cultural identity. Archaeologists
have been able to discern some of these
cultures from each other based upon the
burial styles, architecture, and pottery,
perhaps the most immediate remnant of this
This technically-skilled stone carving of a
zoomorphic figure dates from this distant era.
While the identification of the zoomorphic
figure remains a mystery, it almost resembles
a crouching mammal with human features.
With ears perked upwards, a large bulbous
head dwarfs the body below. Shoulders
protrude from about cheek-height and arms
wrap around the mammal’s knees, creating
two rounded holes. The mammal’s knees are
bent upwards to the chest and the feet,
distinguished by subtle ridges, are pressed
Although this artefact may have once served a
practical purpose – perhaps in votive offering
or memorial – today it is appreciated as a
gorgeous work of art, treasured for both its
beauty and history alike.