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A Sourcebook of Nasca Ceramic Iconography: Reading a Culture Through Its Art

A Sourcebook of Nasca Ceramic Iconography: Reading a Culture Through Its Art (Paperback)

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For almost eight hundred years (100 BC - AD 650) Nasca artists modeled and painted the plants, animals, birds, and fish of their homeland on Peru's south coast as well as numerous abstract anthropomorphic creatures whose form and meaning are sometimes incomprehensible today. In this first book-length treatment of Nasca ceramic iconography to appear in English, drawing upon an archive of more than eight thousand Nasca vessels from over 150 public and private collections, Donald Proulx systematically describes the major artistic motifs of this stunning polychrome pottery, interprets the major themes displayed on this pottery, and then uses these descriptions and his stimulating interpretations to analyze Nasca society. After beginning with an overview of Nasca culture and an explanation of the style and chronology of Nasca pottery, Proulx moves to the heart of his book: a detailed classification and description of the entire range of supernatural and secular themes in Nasca iconography along with a fresh and distinctive interpretation of these themes. Linking the pots and their iconography to the archaeologically known Nasca society, he ends with a thorough and accessible examination of this ancient culture viewed through the lens of ceramic iconography. Although these static images can never be fully understood, by animating their themes and meanings Proulx reconstructs the lifeways of this complex society.

Donald Proulx became fascinated by Nasca pottery forty-five years ago, when he was a student hired to catalog a collection of Peruvian artifacts. Over the years, although his research expanded to include site surveys and settlement pattern studies, he never lost his passion for Nasca ceramics. He has written extensively on all facets of Nasca culture, including Local Differences and Time Differences in Nasca Pottery, Nasca Gravelots in the Uhle Collection from the Ica Valley, and (with Helaine Silverman) The Nasca. He is professor of anthropology emeritus, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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