Molding in Ceramic Production: Challenging Pervasive Views

Author(s): Izumi Shimada

Year: 2016


The use of one or more pairs of concave molds has been a major ceramic formation method throughout much of the world. This method has traditionally been seen as a rational solution to efficiently producing a large number of standardized products. This paper questions these views as being overly generalized or untenable in terms of data from excavated ceramic workshops and examination of products pertaining to Mochica and Sicán cultures on Peru's north coast and to the persistent figurine tradition of coastal Ecuador. For example, at the 1000-year old Middle Sicán workshop at Huaca Sialupe, vessels of same sizes and shapes were made using different sets of molds in contiguous rooms. This is antithetical to the commonly held view of molding associated with efficient production of standardized vessels. Figurines in these areas were predominantly produced using single press-molds. A key implication is that the molds were used to assure a faithful reproduction of important images or icons. Much the same can be said about the famed Mochica portrait vessels. Overall, our views of mold-based production need to balance producer and consumer's perspectives and take into account of the nature of products and use.

Cite this Record

Molding in Ceramic Production: Challenging Pervasive Views. Izumi Shimada. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404529)

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Spatial Coverage

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