The Chupícuaro cultures produced some of the most boldly patterned polychrome ceramics of Mesoamerica. Chupícuaro ceramics include hollow figures, bowls and jars of different shapes, and tripod vessels. The vessels are usually made using a brown or black clay that is painted commonly with geometric polychrome designs, usually in buff, red, and black, but also sometimes with other colors.
The Basal Flange Tripod Bowl is painted the traditional Chupícuaro red and has a protruding rim, or flange, around the bottom of the bowl. Around the body of the vessel are incised diagonal lines and raised X motifs; in other Mesoamerican cultures, the X may be a reference to the X patterns on the back of a snake, or it may be the symbol of the sun or of the sky. This vessel also has three conical feet that support the bowl. Cut into these feet are notches that could simply have been decorative or could have been made to reduce the weight of the feet. Researched by Logan Williams
The Vessel with Cinched Neck and Orange Painted Design has a globular form with a constricted “neck” on the upper part of the vessel. The vessel is painted with orange and red zigzag and triangular motifs around the lower portion of the vessel. Broken edges on each side of the mouth of the vessel indicate that it once had a handle that spanned from one side to the other, like the handle of a basket. Researched by Logan Williams
The Vessel with Vertical and Horizontal Painted Red Lines has the graceful form of an incurving bowl, and it has been painted on the exterior with buff pigment. The alternating groups of vertical and horizontal red lines, however, are thick and uneven. Vessels such as these were found in graves and are believed to have been filled with food offerings, and the quickly painted pattern on the bowl suggests that, while a decorated bowl was desired, the food was the more important part of the offering. Researched by Caitlin Baker
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu