As part of the Pre-Columbian Society of New York Lecture Series, the NYU Institute of Fine Arts presents
Pottery as Ritual Tech in the Ancient Andes: A Revisionary Study of Wari Faceneck Vessels
Andrea Vázquez de Arthur (Fashion Institute of Technology)
Monday, November 6, 2023 @ 6:00-7:30pm
The James B. Duke House
1 East 78th Street, New York, NY 10075
and via Zoom
This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required.
RSVP for in-person attendance | RSVP for virtual attendance
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 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.
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 Moche, Wari, Lambayeque, and Chimú.
*The program will be presented onsite at the James B. Duke House and live-streamed to those who join us by Zoom. Zoom details will be available upon registration for virtual attendees.