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PCSNY November 6 Lecture-Andrea Vázquez de Arthur

November 6, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Pottery as Ritual Tech in the Ancient Andes: A Revisionary Study of Wari Faceneck Vessels

Andrea Vázquez de Arthur, Assistant Professor of Art History, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York

Ceramic faceneck vessel, Middle Horizon, 600-1000 AD, Museo Larco (ML 031706). Photo by Andrea Vázquez de Arthur.

Abstract. The faceneck vessel is a prolific, yet enigmatic ceramic form popular among the Wari civilization, a powerful polity with widespread cultural influence during the Middle Horizon of Andean prehistory. Sometimes described as effigies, other times lumped in with all other narrow-necked jars, the classification of these objects fluctuates between the ritual and the utilitarian. Are they representational images or decorative dinnerware? At the heart of this conundrum is the issue that Andean pottery operates in ways that are unfamiliar to Western traditions, and many ancient Andean vessel types have no counterpart outside of the Americas. An important distinction of the faceneck is that it also has a body, imbuing the vessel with an acute sense of personhood. Drawing on theories of Andean perspectivism, an ontological viewpoint that considers the significance of feasting rituals and ancestor veneration within an animate world, this presentation will address the potential for faceneck vessels to have participated as social agents in complex rituals involving valuable offerings and communion with the dead.

Speaker Biography. Andrea Vázquez de Arthur is an assistant professor of art history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, specializing in the ancient, modern, and contemporary visual arts of Latin America. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a PhD in art history from Columbia University. Prior to joining the faculty at FIT, Dr. Vázquez de Arthur was the Leigh and Mary Carter Director’s Research Fellow at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she curated the exhibition, “Fashioning Identity: Mola Textiles of Panamá”. Her research focuses on the diverse archaeological cultures of the ancient Andes, primarily from the Middle Horizon and the Late Intermediate Period. Through studies of comparative analysis, her work investigates systems of visual language, Indigenous ontologies, and gender representation in the visual culture of various societies including the Moche, Wari, Lambayeque, and Chimú.

Monday, November 6, 2023

6:00 pm EST


Institute of Fine Arts-NYU



November 6, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Pre-Columbian Society of New York


Institute of Fine Arts–NYU
1 E. 78th Street
New York, United States
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