plate

plate

Culture
Marajó
Locale
Marajó Island
Country
Brazil
plate
White-slip painted ceramic
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer
2006.11
. plate. White-slip painted ceramic. Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer. 2006.11.
Dimensions
height: 3 1/2 in, 8.8900 cm; diameter: 12 1/4 in, 31.1150 cm
Inscription
Two small white stickers reading "DEN" and "411".
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Plate in the Form of a Turtle Shell
A.D. 400–1300
Brazil, Marajó Island
White-slip painted ceramic
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2006.11

Marajo Island is a huge (50,000 Square Kilometer) territory at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil.  For about 1000 years (AD 500 - 1500), the northeastern portion of the island was densely inhabited with hierarchical societies.  Large earthen mounds were occupied by the elite who carried out elaborate funerary rituals there.  Richly decorated urns contained secondary burial remains, while vessels, figurines and other items were deposited as offerings.

This plate is modeled in the form of a turtle's carapace, decorated on the interior in the Anajás White Incised style.  Turtles were and are an important food source for Amazonian peoples, and figure prominently in the lore and mythology.  This bowl is coated with cream-colored slip.  After drying, the artist incised the design through the slip to reveal the underlying clay body.  The interlocking spirals and ticked lines are characteristic of the Anajás White Incised style.

Known Provenance
Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.