Talk:Ceramics of indigenous peoples of the Americas

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From my talk page:[edit]

Looks like you connected with my start of a type of "bridge" article between art and anthro. I'm a beginner -- so will try to do as little damage as possible. If you have advice on things I do on the page, please leave me a message on the discussion segment. I'm not yet officially logged in. Suspect I will once I feel more comfortable with the environment. W

I've been planning to do this article for a while, so now I've got some books out of the university library and will try to take a crack at it. silsor 21:01, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)

W. -- sorry about that, it wasn't aimed at you. -- Curps 17:51, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Please note: -W. (an anon) signed in as WBardwin, on 02-17-05.

Possible image for future use:[edit]

The file File:Basalflangeturtlebird.jpg has an uncertain copyright status and may be deleted. You can comment on its removal. Basal flange bowl from Tikal

Racial identification[edit]

Juan Quezada is not Native AMerican, he's Mexican 209.203.94.34

A person can be Mexican in national origin and still a Native American. So -- do you know if Quezada is of 100% European origin, a mestizo, or 100% native origin? Source please? WBardwin 21:20, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

I do not have to give a source, I'm not the one claiming he is native american, the person claiming he is native american should have to provide that. I know for a fact that Juan Quezada is of hispanic origin.

Source: Cahill, Rick. "The Story of Casas Grandes Pottery." Bodjum Books, 1991, ISBN 0-9630853-0-1

"Credited with the modern revival of Casas Grandes ceramics, Juan Guezada pursues the vocation of his ancestors. Dark and handsome, his Indian heritage can be seen in his strong features....." p. 34.
The source above deals with the Casas Grandes Valley, state of Chihuahua, and ancient and modern pottery traditions. Although Cahill never otherwise mentions race, he points out the the Quezada family are self-taught rural people in the region and that they continue a pottery tradition from the ancient city of Paquime, which traded pottery as far north as New Mexico and Arizona and throughout northern Mexico. Chihuahua's people are almost all mestizo - descended from both native americans and Europeans, and they are all hispanic. Very few of these people are 100% European descent, and I have no evidence that the Quezada family is among them. Some of my relatives by marriage are from this region, and they would be appalled if anyone tried to deny them their native heritage. I would not insult Quezada by doing so. If you can show a 100% Hidalgo/European heritage for Quezada, please do so. If you can show that he has denied any affiliation with native ancestry, please do so. But, I am putting him back on the list. WBardwin 06:45, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

There are established rules as to who is considered a Native American artist so just anyone with a remote indian ancestor cannot claim to be a Native American artist. The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 states that an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe.

I think if you want to claim him as a Native American you should be able to at least say what tribe he is from, not just generally that he is Mestizo and therefore is considered Native American. His pottery has never been marketed as Native American pottery, you are making broad assumptions here.

Native American artists are not, by definition, citizens of the United States -- nor is the article confined to pottery of the United States. In addition, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 is a US civil code dealing with US commerce, and does not apply to Quezada as a Mexican citizen. How he chooses to market his work -- as hispanic or native -- is his own business. Many other native potters, even today, are not recognized as commercial artists, but make pottery for their own use and the use of their communities, so commercial restrictions may have little relevance for their inclusion as well. So, if a modern person of Native American ancestry -- north, south or central America -- produces pottery on any scale, they can be included in the modern section here. Should you wish to create a separate article on the US civil code and its restrictions on US artistic sales, that would be appropriate. WBardwin 21:18, 26 September 2005 (UTC)


Relying on an act legislated by the United States Government seems to me

counterproductive. We can't legislate art anymore than we can legislate morality. To attempt to do so with American Indian art is arbitrary and bureaucratic, and it slights all of the rich native American art from Central and South America. Nor is it in accordance with usage. Tony Gonis is a responsible and knowledgeable trader, a stickler for artistic quality and for accurate representation when marketing art. In his upcoming Native American Arts & Antiques Show at the Carr America Conference Center, Pleasanton CA, October 8-9, he defines native American art to include art from Mata Ortiz and the rest of Latin America.

For whatever my degree in art history from Princeton might be worth, Tony Gonis’s approach makes more sense to me than the legalistic one. Since when do we define art by looking to the civil codes? What I personally mean when speaking of American Indian art is simply that it shows some degree of continuity from the precolumbian art tradition rather than its derivation being mainly from Europe or elsewhere. And if the artist has some Indian ancestry, so much the better. We tend to like that. But that only tells us something about ourselves; it really doesn't tell us about the art.

Juan Quezada's father, José Quezada, was born in Santa Barbara Tutuaca, in the south of Chihuahua, and his mother, Paula Celado, in nearby San Lorenzo. Juan himself was born in Tutuaca in 1940 and accompanied his parents to Mata Ortiz as a child. Tutuaca and San Lorenzo are situated in what once was Raramuri (Tarahumara) country before those living there were pushed west into the Sierras, and the majority of local geographic features still bear Raramuri names. The Raramuri returned seasonally to the area to work the harvests (each family with its traditional camping area); consequently, Don José spoke Raramuri for exactly the same reason that a Texas rancher along the border might speak Spanish. In visiting Tutuaca with Juan, I noted that, to my eye, at least, his father and all of his uncles (who were all accomplished craftsmen--saddle makers, soap makers, etc.) had the appearance of being pure Spanish. Juan's mother and his aunts, on the other hand, when we visited San Lorenzo, had darker and (again to my eye) Indian features. They were attractive women. Those in the next generation back, moreover, had all been potters, making unpainted utilitarian ware (tesguino ollas, etc.) in much the Raramuri tradition. None of these women tried to disguise the fact that they were mestiza, but they did not seem to have any remembered linkage to an Indian group.

So there is no question in my mind that the blood circulating in Juan Quezada's veins has an Indian component. But does that really have anything to do with art? Had Juan been raised in Paris rather than Mata Ortiz and gone into art (as opposed to, say, medicine, to which he was also strongly drawn), he would have excelled at art of a wholly different kind.

With a very few, minor, and temporary exceptions, Mata Ortiz art has never been marketed as “Indian” or "native American" art. But if it were, I wouldn't see any problem with that except that it would upset Indian traders in Santa Fe and Scottsdale--which is the reason it has never been so marketed. American Indians in my experience are fully accepting of Juan Quezada. I was present at Idyllwild when Lucy Lewis first saw him work with clay. She was silent for quite a while, and when finally she spoke, she said to her daughters in Acoma (which was later translated to me) that Juan was Indian--meaning that anyone would have to be Indian to handle clay that way. After another long stretch of silence, she turned to them again and said he was Acoma; surely, he must be descended from the young Acoma women that their priest so many years earlier had sold into slavery in the mines in northern Mexico in exchange for the church bell that hangs today in Acoma. Lucy Lewis's daughters subsequently studied with Juan in Mexico. From Indians themselves, I have never in my personal experience known anything but admiration and acceptance.

As a matter of interest--but again of what relevance in defining art, I don't know--is the fact that Juan Quezada was brought up in, and has lived, a life style more like that of traditional North American Indians than that of many, perhaps most, Indians living in the United States today.

I have no problem grouping Juan Quezada with native American artists. I have a problem with those of a legalistic mind-set who would define art according to statutes promulgated by politicians in Washington, D.C. to accommodate their lobby groups made up of many--but not all--of the non-Indian wholesalers and retailers operating in the Indian art market.

Spencer H. MacCallum

Disclaimer on Mexican Influence[edit]

I feel a need to point out that none of the cultures of the Southeastern United States were significantly influenced by Mexico in the prehistoric era. That is an old idea which has been discarded. Today most archaeologists of the region (myself included) feel that the artistic styles of the Southeast developed independently. Arguing that the Olmec influenced Poverty Point is particularly weird, since Poverty Point mound building and its immediate predecessors significantly predate any mound building in Mesoamerica. If anything, the influence went the OTHER way, with Olmecs picking up the idea from Louisiana Native Americans. I will go remove the offending statements about Mexico now. Please contact me if you disagree. TriNotch 22:48, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Catawba pottery[edit]

The Catawba Tribe is the most famous for native american pottery.

The first paragraph currently contains a new edit that states: "The Catawba Tribe is the most famous for native american pottery."

Though I doubt there is any dispute over the assertion that they are known for their pottery, it strikes me as a little over the top to suggest they are "the most famous" given the many other tribes involved in pottery making and particularly the international the collectability of southwestern pottery.

Can anyone substantiate that the Catawba are "the most famous"? What are the supporting resources for the statement? Joekoz451 13:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I moved the comment here for discussion -- a subjective statement at best and certainly hard to prove. WBardwin 06:28, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

suggestion: it should be "are most famous for their pottery" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.38.26.93 (talk) 20:55, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

South American pottery[edit]

The following anon contribution moved here for discussion. WBardwin (talk) 00:00, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

PERU offers selected art pieces made in the different regions of Peru, The art is admired for its wellknown craftsmanship, knowledge passed down by our ancient Inka and Pre-Inka ancestors.
They are heirs of millenaries technical admired in all the world, with this they obtain piece of art that are the result of the transformation of natural elements such as wool, clay, pumpkins, plants, crusts, stones and others. [http://WWW.APUS-INKA.COM]
APUS-INKA.COM is a commercial link that was added to several other pages as well. I believe it qualifies as external link spamming (Wikipedia:Spam.) Jackollie (talk) 05:26, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
That's one reason I transferred the material to this discussion page. Even a spam link can contain valuable information for future editors to review while expanding sections of this article. WBardwin (talk) 04:42, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Organization scheme[edit]

This article's something of a trainwreck. It should either be renamed Indigenous pottery of the Americas or Pottery of indigenous peoples of the Americas or it should focus on US tribes. How can the organization scheme be improved to accommodate different time periods and different materials? The Visual arts by indigenous peoples of the Americas article is organized by early eras, then geography, then contemporary era broken up into media, which isn't consistent. -Uyvsdi (talk) 05:18, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

I agree with your suggestions above, have thought pretty much the same for awhile, and have a had recent related conversation here User talk:Heironymous Rowe#Grit-tempered pottery. You and Donald Albury have made related observations. Maybe we could all contribute to a solution? I'm not sure where to go with it exactly, but am willing to contribute any way I can. Is it ok if we move the conversation here instead of my talk, kinda centralize it with the subject matter? Heiro 19:30, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
This looks like a major effort. I'll try to help, but I don't know much about ceramics. I am familiar with sources on Florida, and can draw on those, but Florida is on the fringe of North America (maize cultivation never reached central and southern Florida), and I gather that the later ceramic traditions are a mixture of local (possibly Archaic) elements and influences from the wider Southeastern culture complex. Anyway, I'm interested in seeing some discussion of different types of tempering, and how they varied across time and space. Something on means and styles of decoration across time and space would also be interesting. I think that would form a basis for better understanding a discussion of pottery types/styles in a given culture/tradition. Just some ideas for discussion. -- Donald Albury 22:08, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Unlike the rest of you, I believe that I can't really help at all; I know nothing of archaeological theory, and my contributions to archaeology articles are exclusively creating or expanding articles about specific sites. I have plenty of sources, so if you find something that I've written and expect it to be useful, let me know and I'll do my best to supply the source. Nyttend (talk) 01:41, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe to start with I'll just introduce a sub-section on tempers until the materials section? -Uyvsdi (talk) 01:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Oh, but something that does probably needs more opinions... should this be renamed or split into a US Native article and a Pan-American article? Either way, I don't mind. -Uyvsdi (talk) 01:47, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

I would think that subjects like materials, methods for shaping pottery, tempering, glazing, and other means of decorating ceramics should be covered at the global level. (That is something I'm not prepared to address.) Articles for pre-Columbian North and South American pottery should then cover any distinctive/unique qualities. Other than the reported lack of any evidence for use of the wheel in pre-Columbian America, I'm not aware of anything unique about pottery as a whole in the Americas. An article or articles at the continental level in the Americas could concentrate on the development and spread of ceramic methods and styles, and widespread families of traditions. I have no idea whether the development and spread of ceramics differed enough between North and South America to justify separate articles. I have seen suggestions that pottery may have had more than one point of origin in the Americas, but I don't think that falls into a neat North/South divide.
At a more granular level, individual ceramic traditions (at some level of importance) need to be covered, but I have noticed that while ceramic traditions are often named for a cultural tradition, at least some cultural traditions are defined, in part, by the particular mixture of named ceramic traditions found at sites assigned to such cultural traditions. Just more food for thought. -- Donald Albury 10:37, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I figured a very rudimentary listing of pottery techniques would be helpful. We could create an "Origins" section, that could discuss the invention of pottery (my imperfect understanding is also that it developed independently in various places). BTW regarding the lack of potter's wheels, precontact South Americans actually had a wheel for pottery but it was for painting the entire surface of a pot not for sculptig. -Uyvsdi (talk) 18:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi
I was just searching around, and the list of tempers in the article needs some work. According to Grog (clay), grog is crushed pottery used as temper. I'm not clear how this differs from the cited use of potsherds as temper. Also, fiber-tempered pottery was made in the Southeastern U.S. and in northern South America (that I know of). At least in North America, Spanish moss and fiber from palmetto leaves were used as the fiber. I wonder whether chaff as temper is restricted to seed coats and such, or if it has been extended to other plant materials, such as Spanish moss. -- Donald Albury 23:06, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Please jump in and change anything; I'm no expert on ceramics. -Uyvsdi (talk) 01:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Name change proposal[edit]

In order to accurately reflect the bicontinental nature of this article, would a name change to Ceramics of indigenous peoples of the Americas, with many redirects, be acceptable? I switched from pottery to ceramics since the latter is slightly broader in scope. -Uyvsdi (talk) 18:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

I support it. This falls in line with some of the reorganizations of similar subjects several months ago. Eventually North, Meso and South could be further differentiated if enough material accumulates. Heiro 18:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Support. I am not aware of any intrinsic reason to treat ceramic traditions in separately in North and South America.
  • Support, with a minor nit: which indigenous ceramics aren't pottery? I think of "ceramics" as academic fancy-speak for pottery... But I see we do include a bit re contemporary pots, and such potters as Kathleen Nez do work in high-fire pots that are well beyond earthenware -- Nez's pots are even dishwasher-safe. So I'm fine with ceramics as the broader (and "tonier") term. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 02:06, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Technically, you're completely right, since ceramics are made through the process of pottery (I'm sure there's some Native artist out there using a high-tech industrial ceramic method we've never heard of but can't think of any off hand). I guess I personally lean towards "ceramics" because "pottery" implies "pots", and plenty of artists create ceramic sculptures - figures, figurines, musical instruments, abstract sculptures, etc. I can go either way. -Uyvsdi (talk) 05:01, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi
And ceramic effigies/figurines have a long history in the Americas. I'm looking right now at a picture of a remarkable human effigy/"funerary urn" that graces the cover of a book on archaeology, and I would never think of calling it a "pot". -- Donald Albury 11:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Okay, if it's not controversial then, I'll just move it. Cheers, -Uyvsdi (talk) 18:22, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Examples of temper in defining/identifying cultures[edit]

I've added some examples of how the choice of temper is used in defining/identifying cultural traditions. Unfortunately, they are all from North America. I'll try to cast my net wider, but I'm not familiar with sources covering archaeology much beyond Florida. any suggestions? -- Donald Albury 11:30, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

This looks promising: Handbook of South American archaeology, by Helaine Silverman, William Harris Isbell. -Uyvsdi (talk) 19:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Start class[edit]

I rated this article start class, but I was unsure of the importance so did not change that.Meatsgains (talk) 18:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

It's currently a well referenced, 32,545 byte article, so it's beyond a start. I'll reassess it when this overhaul is finished. -Uyvsdi (talk) 17:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Sapelo ceramics and Stallings culture[edit]

I'm not sure if we need to reintroduce this or not, since it seems to have been part of the Stallings culture, but here is some stuff about Sapelo Island Archaic period ceramics. Sapelo Island: Early Hunter-Gatherer Pottery along the Atlantic Coast of the Southeastern United States: A Ceramic Compositional Study (archaic period 4200-3000 BP), Native American Pottery in South Carolina : Stallings and connection to Sapelo Island, and

The modem-day expert on fiber-tempered pottery from the Georgia coast is Chester DePratter. In his sequence, DePratter (1979b) employs the St. Simons type name for materials at sites from the mouth of the Savannah to St. Simons Island. He recognizes two phases of St. Simons period: St. Simons I and St. Simons II. Plain pottery is the only type present in the earlier phase (as exemplified by assemblages from Sapelo Island; Figure 12), dating from 4200-3700 B.P. (DePratter 1979b:114)."ARCHAIC PERIOD ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE GEORGIA COASTAL PLAIN AND COASTAL ZONE pg 50

Just thought I'd throw it up here, I'd read about Sapelo awhile back in a book about the Archiac Period Southeast, but its been awhile. Heiro 03:16, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Also, according to Jon L. Gibson, Poverty Point culture marks the first appearance of ceramics technology and pottery in the Lower Mississippi Valley,[1], so I'm not sure it should have been removed either. Heiro 03:26, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I removed Sapelo Island because neither the article Sapelo Island nor the citations in the paragraph mention anything about pre-Columbian inhabitants or pottery on Sapelo Island. I have found sources that date Stallings (named for Stallings Island) series fiber-tempered ceramics as the oldest north of Mexico (ca. 2500 BC), and that the Orange and Norwood series ceramics, which together with Stallings cover the coastal plain from South Carolina through Georgia and Florida, are more or less contemporaneous. Sapelo Island falls in the area that is considered Stallings. (St. Simons is a less preferred synonym for Stallings.) In any case, there are many sites in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida that have yielded fiber-tempered ware from 2000 BC or earlier. I have not read a source that specifically names a particular site as yielding the oldest ceramics (2500 BC), but the middle Savannah River is mentioned as the area with the oldest dates.
As to Poverty Point, the claim I removed was that its inhabitants were "one of the earliest developers of ceramic technologies in North America." I've cited a source saying that fiber-tempered ceramics spread westward from the Atlantic coastal plain, reaching Poverty Point around 1000 BC, some 1500 years after such pottery first appeared in the Stallings area. I did see one source that stated that Poverty Point may have independently developed ceramics, but it gave no dates. I would guess that the question of whether ceramics at Poverty Point were introduced from elsewhere or independently developed on site is still open. I have read that ceramics that appeared around Mobile Bay somewhere in the vicinity of 1000 BC were quite distinct from the westward spreading fiber-tempered ware, and may have derived from the "Latin American Formative". Claims have been made for the priority of many sites. I'm trying to find fairly recent sources that evaluate findings from many sites and provide a coherent narrative of the development and spread of ceramic technology and styles. -- Donald Albury 11:59, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
A bit more on Poverty Point ceramics. Walthall, p. 87, states that the Westward-spreading "fiber-tempered ceramic complex was adopted, and for a brief period produced, by Poverty Point peoples in essentially unmodified form." -- Donald Albury 12:22, 8 November 2011 (UTC)