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Mysterious female pottery face sends 7,300 year-old smile

Photo shows a piece of pottery shaped as a female head at the Bengbu Museum in East China's Anhui province. [Photo/Xinhua]

A mysterious piece of pottery shaped as a female head sends a smile from 7,300 years ago, as its host museum in East China's Anhui province starts a global naming bid for the ancient relic.

Ji Yong, curator of the Anhui Bengbu Museum in the city of Bengbu, said the statue was among 600 pieces of pottery unearthed from a New Stone Age site at Shuangdun village in Anhui in 1985.

Using Carbon 14 technology, the relics were dated back to 7,300 years ago.

However, it is still unknown what the statue was used for and why it was the only one of its kind, with the rest being utensils bearing inscriptions of various symbols believed to be origins of Chinese characters.

The statue, made with earth containing mica powder and quartz, is a flickering tattooed female face with marks emblazoned on her forehead that archaeologists have judged as a sun symbol.

Measuring 6.5 cm in height and width, the relic is the earliest example of such pottery ever found in China.

[ Editor: Xueying ]