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The Panama Ceramic Pottery Exhibit

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Panama Styles:

Gran Coclé: The culture called Gran Coclé was developed in the present day province of Coclé near the river Santa Marta. This culture has been divided into different styles according to the type of pottery work. Monagrillo, La Mula and Tonosí (the most ancient styles) were characterized by the use of three colors to paint the pottery, these were black, red, white or cream. The Cubitá styles was the bridge between the use of trichromatic and polychrome of 4 colors. In the use of the polychrome can be found the styles of Conte, Macaracas and Joaquín, which added the purple color to a wide range which went from grayish tones to purple.  With the subsequent styles of Parita and El Altillo the purple disappeared and became trichromatic. The designs of all the styles were characterized by their geometry.

Monagrillo style: This is a utility pottery and decorated with abstract designs carried out by means of engraving, the application of clay, or painted in red.

La Mula style: This pottery had a higher quality finishing given that the best clay was selected and that the pieces were baked at a more suitable temperature. The recipients found are very big in size with narrow mouths and tall necks. On these pots, which were perhaps used the keep the chicha (maize liquor), a coat of paint in salmon, white or cream was applied. On this were painted geometric or figurative designs.

Arístides style: This was developed in the western part of Coclé. The designs were generally formed by concentric or vertical parallel lines from which ornaments which were also geometrical were hung. They also used designs in the form of a zigzag or upside-down T. In terms of color, the pottery was divided in two groups, one painted black on a red background, and the other painted black over the natural color of the clay.

Tonosí style: This style is more elaborate that the previous ones and black and red on white predominate the designs. But the most important thing is that by means of the pottery the social and political changes can be perceived. We are faced with a more complex society in which the craftsmen specialized in producing better finished pottery. The importance of the religious activity in the hands of the shamans can also be appreciated. There appear beings with animal characteristics such as birds with open wings which would continue to be present in subsequent styles.  For the first time the human figure also appears. These characters are represented with their arms raised forming a right angle and the legs supported in the same position. In some cases the ceramic recipients would be used as funerary urns for the bodies of children.

Cubitá: Its geographical projection was much wider that previous styles reaching as far as the coast of the Gulf of Panama and the archipelago of Las Perlas. Cubitá pottery has been found throughout this area. The types of burials were similar and an exchange of objects was produced of gold and exotic shells such as Spondylus (bivalve of red shell).  The first remains of gold-work of the Isthmus of Panama have been found in this area which are related stylistically to that of North east Colombia. With this style started the production of the effigy vessels with animal and human representations. These pieces were produced with the modeling technique, the application of clay or paint especially in black to highlight the facial features. In many ceramic objects there appear stylized figures of animals such as tortoises or amphibious.

Conte style:  On the coastal plain of the Bay of Parita is located the necropolis of Conte. In it multiple burials have been found among which it is worth highlighting those of Señores or chiefs In these burials a large quantity of gold offering have been found as well as the bodies of eight slaves which were perhaps sacrificed to accompany god.  Among the offerings it is worth mentioning the jewels produced with seashells, semi-precious stones, gold jewels, cut bones and whale teeth. The Conte pottery was decorated with motifs in black, white, red purple and grey. In simple forms such as bowls and plates, to more complex forms such as effigy vases of animals. With time the design of these pieces became more complicated and the animal and human forms were stylized and merged with geometric motifs.

Macaracas: The pottery of this style was characterized by the use of higher pedestals than in previous styles, by the Baroque character of the designs, by the alternating of red and purple and by the representations of the saurian possibly related to the shamanic or warrior activity.  With this style the effigy vases were modified leaving the represented on the lid. There appear new forms, of which it is worth highlighting fish, mammals and felines.  This was similar to that of Macaracas. It should be mentioned the glasses with long stems and recipients with a long neck. The most habitual representations are the crustaceans, scorpions, and birds with their wings open and lengthened crests.

Parita and El Haltillo styles: With these two styles the purple color was no longer used, and therefore it is returned to trichromatic. The designs are more abstract and the stems of the glasses are longer. In terms of the motifs, it should be highlighted a being stylized with the attributes of a hammer fish.

Panama Chiriquí Style A.D. 500–1550
Davíd vicinity, Chiriquí Province, Panama
Jar Chiriquí Style, A.D. 500–1550 - Davíd vicinity, Chiriquí Province, Panama 10.3 x 10.7 cm (4 1/16 x 4 3/16 in.) Earthenware: black on red slip paint (negative-resist and slip paint)

Small jar with rounded bottom, vertical neck, and small rolled rim. The black decoration was created using a negative-resist technique. The upper half of the jar is decorated with geometric designs composed of wide, black, parallel bands. The lower half is decorated with four stripes encircling the jar's midsection and a wide black band on the lower section.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jar Chiriquí Style, A.D. 500–1550 - Davíd vicinity, Chiriquí Province, Panama 9 x 9.6 cm (3 9/16 x 3 3/4 in.) Earthenware: red, black and cream slip paint

Small jar with low neck and pointed bottom. Painated geometric decoration includes a chevron motif on the upper half of the jar, thin and thick horizontal bands at the midsection, and plain red bottom.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jar Chiriquí Style, A.D. 500–1550 Davíd vicinity, Chiriquí Province, Panama 11.1 x 10.6 cm (4 3/8 x 4 3/16 in.) Earthenware: black, orange-brown and dark red slip paint (negative-resist and slip paint)

Small jar with rounded bottom, low neck, outflaring rim, and two loop handles extending from the rim to the shoulder of the jar. Its exterior decoration includes geometric designs in black created by negative-resist painting and firing, and a wide band of black encircling the midsection. The bottom half is painted with dark red slip.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jar Chiriquí Style, A.D. 500–1500 - Gran Chiriquí, Panama Overall: 11.4 x 11.5 cm (4 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.)
Earthenware: red on cream slip paint, organic black paint

Small jar painted with geometric designs using a combination of slip painting and post-fire organic paint that subsequently was subjected to fire to create the black color. Rounded and slightly pointed base.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Panama Coclé Style

The Coclé culture was situated in modern-day Panama. Roughly contemporary with the Diquis culture to the north, the Coclé arose around 500 AD and lasted until 1000.   Coclé, distinguished by their lively asymmetrical animal forms. Coclé pottery is often characterized by its unslipped or buff slip finish and asymmetrical animal figures in aqua and red.

EARTHENWARE BOWL
Painted earthenware; 26 cm diameter 
Coclé 
Panama, Central America 

Logan Museum Collection

HEADREST
10 cm diameter 
Coclé 
Panama, Central America 

Logan Museum Collection

BOWL
Glazed earthenware; 26 cm diameter 
Coclé 
Panama, Central America 

Logan Museum Collection

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Trench II, Grave 26 
Coclé, Panama, Central America 

Logan Museum Collection

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama
Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama
 
Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama
 
Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Vessel Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

panama ?Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Effigy Vessel Glazed earthenware  Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Vessel with lid Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Bowl with zoomorphic design  Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Pedestal Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Plate Glazed earthenware 
Coclé, Panama

Barbier-Mueller Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Modelled feline applique figurine, Sitio Drago, Mound 6, Unit 1.

 
Panama Conte Style
Pair of Pedestal Plates, 5th–8th century - Panama; Conte Ceramic; H. 6 in. (15.2 cm)

The images on this pair of pedestal plates depict mythical avian or saurian zoomorphs with feathered or scaled backs and chests, and clawed or multi-toed feet. Presented with open beaks and in mid-step, these creatures follow one another around the edge of the plate, head to tail, each occupying roughly half the space of the image field. Painted in brown, cream, plum, and reddish orange, the polychrome plates have similar but not exact designs. There are variations in the colors of the pedestal pattern and slight differences between the beasts, such as the red-rimmed eyes of those on one plate. This imbues the work with an air of spontaneity within the fixed composition.

Metropolitan Museum

    Hunchback Seated on a Stool Central Panama, Conte Style, c. 600-800

Cleveland Museum of Art

Panama Parita Style
Vessel: Turtle
Panama, Parita style, 11th-14th century

 

Cleveland

   

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