On May 9, 1998, The PreColumbian Society joined
Dr. Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan, Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies,
as well as Founder and Director of the Program in Museum Studies at NYU's
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. for a trip to Puebla, Mexico,
to study modern Mexican folk pottery. Dr. Kaplan feels that
the style of this modern utilitarian ware acts as an expression of the values and
ideals of Pueblan culture. Pueblan folk pottery is functional ware created in
the barrios of Pueblo for everyday use, rather than for ceremonial or tourist use.
Puebla is an industrial city which has been a center for fine art, cuisine and cookware
since PreColumbian times. Doctor Kaplan made a structural generative analysis
of the clays, distinctive features and designs of the pottery, as well as an historical search through local records to develop a picture of this traditional pottery production.
Dr. Kaplan itemized 137 sizes and 94 variations of pots, made out of local clays, which were molded, or more rarely thrown, by Pueblan potters. A second group of artisans then decorated the pots with poured slip designs in one of three symbolic colors: red, signifying life, black, symbolizing death, or yellow, the earth. Up to 3000 pots were then stacked and fired by a third group of artisans in a semi-subterranean woodfired kiln. Doctor Kaplan showed many examples of slip patterns used today which can be traced back to PreColumbian antecedents, such as the lattice design which can be found on ancient pulque pots.
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