400 - 1300 CE
5.5" x 10"
Ceramics, earthenware with colored slips Region:
Marajo Island, Brazil Culture:
The island of Marajo lies at the mouths of the Amazon and Tocantins Rivers in Brazil. It is the largest river island in the world, slightly larger than Switzerland. The inhabitants of this island developed what is considered to be the oldest ceramic art in Brazil and one of the oldest in the Americas. There are a number of distinct traditions over time based on the type of decoration used. The original inhabitants of the island were the Ananatubas, the oldest potters, dating from the 1st millennium B.C.. Several distinct ceramic traditions followed but a great change happened in what is known as the Marajoara polychrome phase, existing from about 400 to 1350 A.D.. These ceramics have color and a richness and diversity in technique and decoration not previously seen. About 15 finishing techniques were used. These combined carving, sculptural detail, washes of red and white, excision, incision and polychrome painting using red, white, brown and black.