Sculptural pottery vessels are very rare but have been discovered in several Neolithic cultures. The owl-shaped container from the Yangshao culture could have been functional, but the slender bottle from the Liangzhu culture appears less practical; the spout is in the form of an animal's tail and the base of the bottle is pointed, making the vessel's utility difficult to imagine.
  Excavated at the site of an important Shang dynasty capital, this jar echoes the shape and decoration of contemporary bronze vessels. Fashioned in the shape of a bronze you, it bears the same incised designs that would have decorated the bronze prototype: zoomorphic masks, abstract dragons, and squared spirals. Although white-bodied, this jar is not a prototype of porcelain. It was fired at low temperature, making it soft, porous, and brittle, and it has no glaze. Not surprisingly, such labor-intensive but impractical vessels were not made in quantity or over a long period.