Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-v

Contents

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pp. vi-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (via Wikimedia Commons); the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (via Wikimedia Commons); York Art Gallery, York, England (via Wikimedia Commons); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Jewish...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

Global Clay is a book about pottery from around the world, from the earliest wares to those of today. But this is not a survey in the usual sense, as it does not approach the subject in a linear, chronological way as a historian would, or in a spatial or ethnographic way as a geographer or anthropologist...

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1. International Folk Pottery: A Brief Primer

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pp. 10-35

In this book I use the terms “folk” and “traditional” interchangeably to describe the potters and their products featured here. By folk potters I mean those who’ve learned their designs and handcrafting skills by observation and practice in a family or apprenticeship setting, and are thus human...

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2. Monuments to Clay: Public Markers of Craft Identity

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pp. 36-63

Traditional potters of the past, as well as the present, have tended to cluster in pottery-making communities rather than to work in isolation. In parts of the Far East such nucleated workshops, as well as individual ones, are referred to as “kilns,” in reference to one of the most critical and prominent...

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3. The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Cross-Cultural Imitations

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pp. 64-98

This is an “East Meets West” story, specifically about the impact of the Far and Middle East on the rest of the world’s ceramics. To put it another way, it’s a story about cultural diffusion: the spread of ceramic ideas from a single place of origin—China—to virtually the rest of the globe. The diffusion...

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4. The Human Image: Face Jugs and Other People Pots

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pp. 99-140

Face jugs are perhaps the most intriguing objects made by southern folk potters, capturing the imagination of collectors, museum curators, researchers, and potters alike. Where did they come from, and what have they meant to their makers and owners, both in the past and present? The story...

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5. A Clay Menagerie: The Animal World in Ceramics

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pp. 141-201

We humans have had a complex relationship with others in the animal world. One of the positive aspects of this relationship is the inspiration provided by our nonhuman cousins to visual artists, including the traditional potters whose creations are the focus of this book. The depiction of...

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6. Idols with Feet of Clay: Ceramics and World Religions

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pp. 202-249

A gift of Mother Earth, clay is the humblest of artistic media, but in the hands of a skilled artisan it can be transformed into an object fit to honor the gods.1 In contrast to painting, and to sculpture in stone, metal, and wood, religious expression in ceramics has received little attention...

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7. Returning to Clay: Death and the Afterlife

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pp. 250-281

What happens to us when we die remains one of the great mysteries of human existence. Goods (including pottery, of course) buried with the deceased in prehistoric times are mute evidence of early belief in some sort of afterlife; our species finds it difficult to accept that nothing follows the cessation...

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8. Living Traditions Today: Continuity, Change, Revival

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pp. 282-318

In one respect, Lanier was correct: since his death in 1998, the original Meaders Pottery site where he worked is now overgrown with weeds. But in a more important way he was wrong, and a good thing, too. In 1968 Lanier was Georgia’s last old-fashioned folk potter, still digging his own clay, refining...

Suggested Reading

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pp. 319-324

Index

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pp. 325-340