The article selected for this essay is a Moche type of ceramic art form, originating in the Viru valley, Peru, South America, and belonging to the Chimu culture. It is exhibited at the Peabody museum and bears number 09-3-30/75596.4
The function of this article is water storage.
It appears to be an article from an era when technology of artificial heating and finishing processes like glazing etc. were not available. Perhaps it dates back to the times when man had just started taking inspiration from nature, to create things and decorate them. The article is fully a hand crafted item, with no mechanization involved in its making. Visually it represents an animal.
The material used for making this article is clay. There is no evidence of any other material being used for the decoration purpose. The entire article is made from clay only.
Clay has a property of being porous. This helps in cooling the water inside the container, because the evaporated water from the pores of clay, creates a cooling effect. This cold water is a big blessing in hot seasons.
Clay has another property of being chemically inert with water. Hence a clay vessel is safe also.
The making of this pot involves hand processes only. Not even minimal mechanization like a potter’s wheel is used here. This can be stated on the basis that the two water storing chambers are not symmetrical along the vertical axis.
Any item turned on a potter’s wheel has to be symmetric along the vertical axis.
In this article, one chamber slants to the right side of the viewer and the second to the left of the viewer.
The sequence of production is as follows:
First, two pots with non symmetrical convex curves on the outer side are prepared. One pot bends towards the right along its vertical axis and the other towards its left. The top portion of each pot is open. Circular cavities are provided on the side of each pot, in the opposite direction from the inclination.
Once the two pots are ready, they are joined by a hollow pipe through the cavities in the spherical surface of each pot. The top portion of the pot which has a bend towards the right is closed with a clay model of animals mouth, and the other pot with a clay cylinder and fixed to the top of the pot. The necks of these two pots are then joined by another clay strip, making it a double chambered water storage device.
All joineries are performed when the clay is still wet, with water as a medium for joining. The visible joints are proof to this theory.
The article has five basic objects:
1) 2 number of pots, with required inclination
2) One small hollow clay structure with concave sides, both sides open
3) One big size cylinder from clay, both sides open
4) One clay model depicting the mouth of an animal.
5) One clay strip, wide enough to suit a human hand, with a convex bend.
This article has two functions attached to it. One is to store water and second to provide a hand grip for human hands. Though not intentional, but the form of an animal, follows the function of providing storage space for storing water. The outward, inclined convex curves represent the belly of an animal. Two pots were chosen, perhaps to meet the demands for more water. The convex strip joining the necks of the two pots has a specific function also. It serves as a hand grip for transporting the article from one place to another.
The basic idea of blending the visual of a standing animal with the function of storing water and making it portable by hand, is perfectly achieved in this case.
Man is always innovative. The creator of this article perhaps wanted a new visual appeal to the common geometric shaped pots. So he has tried to make his pot look like a standing animal. This suffices his natural instinct to produce something new. He has successfully attempted to make the pot look like an animal, instead of utterly monotonous geometric shapes with well defined symmetric geometry.
Conclusively, it can be said that this piece of ancient art is a classic Example of man’s constant search for new visual identities to the products and articles created by him, without making a compromise on the functional aspects of the device. He has been doing it right from the days when he had only his hands as the best manufacturing technology available to him !!
This object proves this beyond any doubts
Works- cited page
Collections online, Peabody museum of archaeology and ethnology, 2002-2004,
Retrieved on 22-12-2006,