Pedestal Bowl

Date: 13th–16th century

Geography: Colombia or Ecuador

Culture: Carchi

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: Diam. 7 1/8 x H. 3-1/8 in.

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Bequest of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993

Accession Number: 1994.35.63


For many centuries prior to the Spanish conquest in the 1530s, the people living in the highlands between Colombia and Ecuador produced ceramics that have been found in tombs with shafts as deep as 130 feet. A common vessel type, of almost standardized size and shape, were bowls with annular ring bases. Decorated inside with a wide range of geometric motifs and stylized human and animal forms, these bowls exhibit an infinite variety of formal arrangement. Surfaces are banded, or cut into halves, thirds, or quarters, divisions that are always precisely calculated. Tuza/Cuasmal wares were painted in red or red-brown on cream-colored slip, as on the bowl illustrated here. The surface is divided into two halves by a wide band with stepped and scroll motifs. A further division creates quarters featuring crosshatching and profile parrots perched on bars.