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Ceramics of Ancient AmericaMultidisciplinary Approaches$
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Yumi Park Huntington, Dean E. Arnold, and Johanna Minich

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056067

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056067.001.0001

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Naturalism and Contrapposto in the Ceramics of Ancient Ecuador

Naturalism and Contrapposto in the Ceramics of Ancient Ecuador

Ideology and the Humanistic Trend in Ancient American Art

(p.62) 3 Naturalism and Contrapposto in the Ceramics of Ancient Ecuador
Ceramics of Ancient America

James Farmer

University Press of Florida

In chapter 3, James Framer investigates a pattern of artistic evolution in depictions of the human figure in a series of figurative ceramic styles originating in ancient coastal Ecuador. Between c.3000 BCE and c.500 CE, a chronological sequence of five distinct but connected ceramic styles emerged in the region: Valdivia, Machalilla, Chorrera, Jamacoaque, and La Tolita. Close scrutiny of changes in the rendering the human figure in this sequence reflect aesthetic and philosophical changes in the intent of both patrons and artists. Comparisons are noted between ancient Ecuadorian and certain other ancient American figurative ceramics and the development of the Classic human figure type in Greek art. This essay argues that certain specific artistic techniques and conventions employed in Classic Greek art, and by which the Classic tradition has long been defined, were also being developed independently by ancient American ceramicists. Contrapposto, high naturalism, canonical proportion and ratios, and highly animated postures and gestures, all seem to have also been developed and applied in the ancient Americas, perhaps reflecting the emergence of a distinct form of ancient American humanistic philosophy, separate but parallel to the more famous Classical tradition from the Old World.

Keywords:   Ecuador, Valdivia, Chorrera, Jamacoaque, La Tolita, Contrapposto, high naturalism, Humanistic philosophy, Classic Greek art

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