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Kichwa Potters of Jatun Molino - page 2

The following images are from the Kichwa village of Jatun Molino in the
Amazonian basin of Ecuador.

All photos (c) 1994 Richard Burkett
Note that some shift in color may occur in translating these
to your type of computer and monitor. They will probably look
best on a high resolution color monitor set to millions of colors.
Click any image to enlarge it slightly.

Olivia painting a mucawa

The entire mucawa is first painted with red slip, then the decoration is added in white, black and more red slip-like pigments. These are all naturally-occuring colors, some of which come from local sources while others are obtained in trade. The painting is done with a tiny human hair brush, often only one or two hairs thick. Designs are all different and based on animal and jungle imagery abstracted to geometric pattern.

Dora painting a tinaja - a Kichwa vase form

Dora painting a large tinaja (vase form). Note the pet parrot sitting on her left arm.

mucawas being fired over cooking fire

Mucawas are fired over an open fire, in this case the cooking fire. One mucawa is under the ashes in the firing container, while another one sits on top of the ashes preheating. Other small pieces are also being preheated around the fire.

applying resin to a Kichwa pot

After the mucawas have been fired to a dull red orange heat they are carefully removed from the firing container and the ashes dusted off. After a few moments of cooling they are rubbed with a stick of tree sap resin which acts like a varnish to seal and waterproof the form. This must be done while the mucawa is still hot, but not too hot.

Kichwa firing bowl with no bottom

The container used to fire the mucawas is simply a large bowl with the bottom broken out, usually a piece of the undecorated ware made for more casual daily use.

diagram of firing a mucawa inside a larger firing bowl with no bottom

A diagram of how the mucawas are fired in the ash-filled firing bowl. The larger firing bowl has no bottom so the heat of the fire can come up into the mucawa being fired. The mucawa is covered with wood ash which acts as an insulating layer, basically making a tiny kiln for one mucawa.

Diagrams of typical Kichwa pottery shapes.

Kichwa tinaja More Kichwa pottery photos

Go back previous page of Kichwa photos

Comments? Send email to:
Richard.Burkett@sdsu.edu

 

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