You will find great artifacts of American Indian art such as handcrafted Indian pottery for sale on Indian reservations throughout North America.

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Athena Review, Vol. 1, No.3


PreColumbian Pottery in the Antilles


The larger Caribbean islands, the Greater Antilles, were settled by Arawak-speaking tribes from South America from 100 BC onward. This era, the Neo-Indian period, is characterized by pottery and agriculture brought from the Orinoco region to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola (today's Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

The earliest-known pottery in the Greater Antilles is from the Saladoid tradition, named for the Saladero site near the Orinoco mouth. Ceramic vessels from this tradition are decorated with white-on-red negative painting  and  incised lines, often showing organic or rounded geometric forms. Also associated with the Saladoid tradition are abundant manioc graters.

 The next major pottery tradition in the Caribbean, called the Barrancoid (also derived from the lower Orinoco) has broad-line incision on smooth surfaces, with appliques of zoomorphic themes or fanciful animals. This spread through the Antilles after about AD 700.

[Fig.1: Pottery bowl from a burial in Tibes, Puerto Rico, AD 300-600 (Tibes Museum; photo: Athena Review).]

A third pottery tradition, called the Ostionoid, developed after AD 600 in the Greater Antilles as a modified version of the Saladoid. The center of origin appears to be Puerto Rico, which contains a number of  important Neo-Indian sites, many with ballcourts and other elements of cultural complexity. Finally, further modifications of the earlier styles led to the Chicoid pottery tradition, which after ca. AD 1200 spread throughout Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. The Taino culture that Columbus encountered in AD 1492 was part of this tradition.

For related information, see also  Languages of South America and Fray Ramon Pane.]


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