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2014 Brigade Blog by Ann Schunior – part 5, Pre-Columbian pottery

Posted by Abby Silver

I found this sentence in a blog recently: Ceramics and pottery is a large and historical tradition in Nicaragua. The history of pottery dates back to the Spanish Conquest, 2,500 years ago. (http://nicaraguaviva.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/ceramics-pottery/)

I gasp at the mistakes, grammatical and factual in those two sentences, but pottery had a tradition in Nicaragua long before the conquistadors arrived, somewhat less that 2,500 years ago. Indeed, the indigenous potters were probably lucky that the Spanish didn’t introduce European pottery here, as they did in Mexico. Glazes were not used anywhere in ancient America and Spanish glazes were lead-based. The introduction of lead-based glazes to Mexico has lead to a heritage of lead poisoning. In Nicaragua, present day potters continue to pot as their ancestors did, forming pots by hand, decorating with colored clays, and burnishing the surfaces to make them shiny and water-tight.

MiMuseo, Granada

MiMuseo, Granada

Pre-Columbian pot, Mi Museo, Granada

Pre-Columbian pot, Mi Museo, Granada

Funerary pots. Mi Museo, Granada

Funerary pots. Mi Museo, Granada

Pre-Columbian Museum of Condega

Pre-Columbian Museum of Condega

 

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