A Mexican Folk Pottery Tradition
Cognition and Style in Material Culture in the Valley of Puebla
ISBN10: 0809317303 ISBN13: 9780809317301 Publisher: Southern Illinois Univ Pr Published: Jan 1 1994 Weight: 1.70lbs. Height: 8.75" Width: 11.25" Depth: 0.75" Language: English
Flora S. Kaplan draws on several disciplines and techniques to describe, classify, and interpret style in the black-on-red glazed pottery tradition of Puebla, Mexico.
The concept of style although widely used in archaeology, ethology, and art history often is too vague to be useful in developing either an empirical methodology for its study or in illuminating the creative and cognitive processes in human beings. Kaplan, however, rigorously defines style in her study of a single functioning style of utilitarian folk pottery and seeks to explicate the conditions in which creative and cognitive processes take place. In her search for meaning in group style as well as for a replicable methodology for the systematic analysis and comparative study of style in material culture, Kaplan turns to the techniques of ethnology, archaeology, and linguistics, thus providing a basis for a testable model.
The markings, the color, the sizes, the shapes in short, the style of this black-on-red pottery are an expression of a number of ancient themes and myths that have shaped the Indian view of life over a long period. Some of these themes and myths have been rephrased with new meaning and expression over the years as changes have occurred, particularly the Spanish conquest and colonialism, independence, and revolution; but many more can be traced back to their Aztec roots. Viewing the history of this pottery as a microcosm of the history of the country and its people, Kaplan notes that "this folk pottery has transcended its homely origins to become a significant art form, one that conveys the essence of Mexicaness. The pottery and its use serve to define social relations among realigned classes in the region and nation."
Kaplan discusses the nature and extent of the community formed by the potters of black-on-red ware, describing and classifying the pottery and the raw materials used. She examines the technique of pottery making by focusing on the role of learning and specialization in the transmission of style. Kaplan explores the patterns of traditional pottery and looks at distribution of the ware as well as at the daily and ceremonial contexts of its use, suggesting that style in material culture is a system that embodies group identity and provides a basis for group action."