Abbreviated Imagery on Cajamarca Cursive Ceramics

Author(s): Jeanette Nicewinter

Year: 2018


Paintings on fineware ceramic vessels and spoons by the pre-Hispanic Cajamarca culture of the north highlands of present-day Peru emphasize an abstracted and expressionistic aesthetic unlike their north coast neighbors, the Transitional Moche culture, and their contemporaries, the Wari state. During the Middle Horizon (c. 600 - 1000 CE), the Cajamarca culture's paintings developed a greater emphasis on human and animal imagery while maintaining an abstraction of forms. The figures are reduced to brief combinations of lines and are placed within compositions that are tightly filled with dots, spirals and waves. The compression of space and expressionistic handling of paint emblematizes the Cajamarca Cursive style. While the compulsion to fill space has been previously thought of as a motif or filler, the lines accentuate figures and create movement within the image. The proliferation of a small corpus of representational imagery on a variety of Cajamarca bowls, spoons and jars indicates that the image held cultural and social value and was an abbreviated version of a vast body of esoteric knowledge. The identification of key figures and actions is a portion of a larger project to extrapolate the key features of the Cajamarca culture’s ideologies.

Cite this Record

Abbreviated Imagery on Cajamarca Cursive Ceramics. Jeanette Nicewinter. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443044)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22506