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May 2014 Lecture


The Forms and Faces of Paracas Dedicatory Offerings 




Ceramics figured in all spheres of domestic and public life of the Paracas people of the south coast Peru. Yet, aside from funerary  Yet, aside from funerary rituals in which whole polychrome ceramics were placed with the dead, little is known about other ritual contexts in which pottery figured. In this talk, the relationship between ceramics and their role in ritual is discussed, with the goal of demonstrating that ceramics were a critical substance in a number of distinct dedicatory offerings. These contexts challenge a number of assumptions about how ceramic forms and design are interpreted. Indeed, the context of ritual accentuates the shortcomings of dichotomizing ceramics into either ceremonial or utilitarian uses, and challenges existing classificatory frameworks. Moreover, it is suggested that outward design is but one key to assessing value and meaning.




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Date:    Friday, May 2, 2014  

Time:   Refreshments:            6:45 pm

              Meeting and lecture:    7:15 pm



Biography:  Lisa DeLeonardis is the Austen-Stokes Professor in Art of the Ancient Americas in the Department of the History of Art at Johns Hopkins University. She has conducted a number of projects in south coastal Peru, centering on Paracas and Nasca visual culture and history. As a Dumbarton Oaks summer fellow, she investigated questions about Inka occupational specialists and evaluated the kamayuq (master artisan) as a construct to more broadly address the social organization of artists and guilds in the pre-Hispanic Andes. Her current study of value in Paracas ceramic production and process continues this inquiry. DeLeonardis' work has appeared in Latin American Antiquity and Ethnohistory and she is a contributing author to Andean Archaeology (Silverman, ed., 2004), Guide to Documentary Sources for Andean Studies 1530-1900 (Pillsbury, ed., 2008) and The Construction of Value in the Ancient World (Papadopoulos and Urton, eds., 2012). She is concurrently completing manuscripts on the Paracas of Callango and the architectural and social history of Santa Cruz de Lanchas, Paris in 2010.



Monthly meetings are held at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1201 17th Street  NW.