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HOME : PRE COLUMBIAN ART : In Process : Valdivia Stone Axe
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Valdivia Stone Axe - PH.0219
Origin: Equador
Circa: 3500 BC to 1500 BC

Collection: Pre-Columbian Art
Style: Valdivia


Location: United States
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Description
The Valdivia culture is one of the oldest settled cultures recorded in the Americas. It emerged from the earlier Las Vegas culture and thrived on the Santa Elena peninsula near the modern-day town of Valdivia, Ecuador between 3500 BC and 1500 BC. Remains of the Valdivia culture were discovered in 1956 on the western coast of Ecuador by the Ecuadorian archeologist Emilio Estrada, who continued to study this culture. American archeologists Clifford Evans and Betty Meggers joined him in the early 1960s in studying the type- site. The Valdivia lived in a community that built its houses in a circle or oval around a central plaza. They were believed to have a relatively egalitarian culture of sedentary people who lived mostly off fishing, though they did some farming and occasionally hunted for deer to supplement their diet. From the archeological remains that have been found, it has been determined that Valdivians cultivated maize, kidney beans, squash, cassava, chili peppers and cotton plants. The latter was processed, spun and woven to make clothing. Valdivian pottery, dated to 2700 BC, initially was rough and practical, but it became splendid, delicate and large over time. They generally used red and gray colors, and the polished dark red pottery is characteristic of the Valdivia period. In their ceramics and stone works, the Valdivia culture shows a progression from the most simple to much more complicated works. The trademark Valdivia piece is the "Venus" of Valdivia: feminine ceramic figures. The "Venus" of Valdivia likely represented actual people, as each figurine is individual and unique, as expressed in the hairstyles. The figures were made joining two rolls of clay, leaving the lower portion separated as legs and making the body and head from the top portion. The arms were usually very short, and in most cases were bent towards the chest, holding the breasts or under the chin. - (PH.0219)

 

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