Advanced Search

Ancient America Ceramics

The Gardiner Museum’s Ancient Americas collection is considerd to be the foremost in Canada. It encompass 47 separate cultures from the vast modern day geographical areas of the American Southwest, Mexico, Central and South America. Some of the cultures and people of these areas date back from 3500 BC to AD 1550, just before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
Although each of the cultures represented are considered separate distinct groups, there are similarities found between many of them. From intensive agriculture to complex systems of water control, mathematics to monumental architecture, all of these groups developed one the great miracles of human ingenuity – pottery.
The low-fired earthenware vessels and sculptures are made without the use of the potter’s wheel and are decorated with various techniques. Some of these finishes are applied prior to firing, such as slip decoration, and others, including the application of resins and pigments, are added post-firing. The themes illustrated on the works are often influenced by the flora and fauna found in their highly varied environmental zones, from rugged highlands, to arid deserts, and humid tropical lowlands.

Ancient America Collections:
American Southwest
Intermediate Area