Researching LACMA's Colombian ceramics


The study of objects that are without context or provenience, as we most often find in museum collections, is challenging. Focusing on LACMA’s collection of Colombian ceramics, this paper will present the results of research carried out by the Program for the Art of the Ancient Americas at LACMA, and examine procedures and outcomes of integrating historical, ethnographic, and archaeological data for interpreting museum objects. Colonial text sources convey a sense of the impression that 16th century Colombia and its inhabitants made on the conquistadors, and in many cases the objects appear to illustrate the same world that the Spaniards described. However the cultural gap was too great for them to appreciate more than a minimal element of indigenous culture, and many let their imaginations run away with them. On the other hand, ethnographic data can illustrate practices and allow us to interpret and consider the symbolic aspects of objects. Studying the collection using a multi-disciplinary approach reveals a story of diversity and time-depth that is not always apparent in each of these strands alone.

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Researching LACMA's Colombian ceramics. Julia Burtenshaw, Diana Magaloni, Johannes Neurath. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397885)

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min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;