August 30, 2002


Ecuador is a tiny country with a huge cultural legacy. The San Diego Museum of Man will pay tribute to this Andean country’s rich history and cultural accomplishments with a new exhibit, “Ecuadorian Pottery Traditions,” opening Saturday, September 7 and continuing through May 4, 2003.

Eloisa Inga — at 83 the oldest potter in the village of Jatumpamba — years, forms the top of a large olla from local clay which she digs herself.

According to the Museum’s curator of Latin American ethnography, Grace Johnson, Ecuadorian cultures were among the first in the Americas to discover the mixture of clay, water, and fire that led to the invention of ceramics. “The earliest examples of pottery —  fired some 6,000 years ago  — have revised the archaeological record, peeling back layers of time to reveal Ecuador’s heritage,” she says. “This exhibit will  take a close look at the people of Ecuador who make pottery and the intricate process involved in its manufacture — from pre-Hispanic to modern times.”

A unique partnership between the Museum of Man, San Diego State University and Eastern Kentucky University, the exhibit features more than 100 pieces, plus stunning photography of the potters and the process.  Decorative and utilitarian pottery will both be featured in the exhibition.

In addition to Johnson, assisting with the exhibit are Richard Burkett, a professor of ceramics at San Diego State University and a noted ceramic artist, and Joe Molinaro, a professor of  ceramics at Eastern Kentucky University and also a ceramic artist. Molinaro and Burkett  have traveled extensively in Ecuador, researching and collecting its pottery for many years.  Both scholars have photographed and videotaped the indigenous female

potters in Ecuador, studying potters in Jatumpamba (in the Southern Andes near Azogues and Cuenca) and in the Amazonian basin along the Rio Bobonaza.

The San Diego Museum of Man is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and display of the life and history of humankind. Headquartered in Balboa Park, the museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6-17, under 6 are free. Seniors over 65 are $5.

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