SHIPIBO POTTERY FROM PERU
Shipibo people live near the Ucayali River in areas of
eastern Peru around in the Amazon Basin.
These natives are extremely talented, making
distinctive pottery that is traditional for their
example, Shipibo vases are handmade and then decorated using
natural pigments from the earth.
The geometric designs are representation of the
visions of the Shipibo people, which is why this type of
pottery is so unique and prized.
the creation of a Shipibo vase or other piece of pottery,
they are decorated and then fired in low heated, open fires.
When done, the pieces of pottery are finished with a
vegetable-based compound that makes it waterproof while
creating a gorgeous sheen.
These people live deep in the Amazon rainforest.
Although they live a primitive life with limited
contact with outside civilizations, the pottery made is
men of the tribe are hunters and gatherers that still
practice head hunting.
However, the women are the pottery makers.
Typically, clay is found, which takes several days in
a dugout canoe to reach.
The clay is then mixed with ashes coming from the
bark of trees growing in the area.
This mixture is then ground up into small fragments
of broken pottery. From
this, each piece is hand crafted, without using a potter’s
sides of the pottery are made thin, which is what makes each
pottery piece so amazingly lightweight.
Once the pieces have dried in the warm sun for
several days, the clay goes through the firing process.
The white base color is created from a clay slip
whereas the red and black geometric designs come from the
process of boiling bark.
Then, resin is obtained from tree sap, which gives
the Shipibo pottery its unique glaze.
often, you would see the design of a cross and serpent.
However, the geometric patterns are all easily
recognized and characteristic of things seen in everyday
example, for special occasions, the decorations on the
Shipibo pottery will depict a face and a body, which is
believed to be a magical and religious expression. However, outsiders are not quite sure of the true meaning.
in mind that Shipibo pottery actually started for
utilitarian purposes. Pieces
would be used for eating, preserving food, carrying water,
and so on. However,
as the Shipibo people discovered money and the things it
could buy, they began selling the pottery, thus getting word
out to the rest of the world about their amazing talent.
Unfortunately, the trip to reach the market for the
Shipibo people is a long, dangerous one.