Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pre-Columbian Pottery

While much of Europe was in the throes of the artistic and social decline known as the Middle Ages, across the Atlantic, the ancient cultures of the Americas were experiencing a vibrant cultural period distinguished by fascinating works of art, particularly pottery.
The Pre-Columbian era generally refers to the span of time in the Americas prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1492. However, the term more accurately describes the history of Native American cultures before significant contact with or conquest by Europeans. 
Regardless of the location in either North, Central or South America, archeological evidence proves that all of these cultures were incredibly proficient in ceramics. Since many Pre-Columbian cultures lacked formal writing systems, pottery became their history books–a visual vehicle to express and pass on their knowledge of the world, encompassing religion, cosmology, philosophy and even astronomy. 
M.S. Rau Antiques’ collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts was assembled by a private collector in the 1960s and covers various cultures throughout Mexico and Central and South America from about 1800 B.C. to A.D. 1530. Many of these wares were used to venerate important figures in society, while others served more mystical purposes by depicting shamanistic rites and spiritual awakenings. This West Mexican Nayarit Warrior Figure with Staff was crafted in honor of a great warrior chieftain. Imagery including the baton, large horn-like extensions atop the head and seated posture are notable symbols of high social standing.
The peoples of Central America had a particular affinity for animal symbolism, as illustrated by this Veraguas Feline Figure from Panama. Most likely used as a ritual vessel, these animal-centric forms often referred to shamanistic transformations, giving animal qualities to individuals undergoing a spiritual transformation.
These ceramics are more than remarkable works of art, they provide unique insight into the fascinating ancient cultures that shaped our history.
Click here to view M.S. Rau Antiques’ entire collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sunday, September 2, 2018

What Types of Soil Are in the Ocean?

The ocean floor is composed of three different types of soil, known as pelagic sediments or marine sediments. They include calcareous ooze, red clay and siliceous ooze.

The Ocean Floor

The ocean floor is made up of mountains, valleys, plains, plateaus, islands, ridges and volcanoes. The Earth's floor below the ocean is very similar the that above the ocean.

Ooze vs. Clay

Ooze is made up of debris from living organisms; any soil composed of more than 30 percent organic debris is classified as ooze, making it a biogenous sediment. Red clay is not organic; it's made of rock and is considered lithogenous sediment.

Calcareous Ooze

Calcareous ooze is the most common of the three soils and covers approximately 48 percent of the ocean floor. It is composed of the shells of foraminifera, coccolithophores and pteropods, which are tiny organisms living in the ocean.

Red Clay

Red clay covers approximately 38 percent of the ocean floor and is brown. It is made up of quartz, clay minerals and micrometeorites, which are rocks that weigh less than a gram and have fallen to Earth from outer space.

Siliceous Ooze

Siliceous ooze is the least common of the three soils, covering approximately 15 percent of the ocean floor. It is composed of plankton debris and silica shells.
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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Annie Thompson, Student Work

“Somewhat Alive”

My intention is to create an experience that appears subtle while conveying a sense of power.
The draped fabric appears quite and subtle. The shades of pink create a monochromatic atmosphere
of fleshy life. The sheets are connected to an inner motor so that every few moments both forms
pulsate at their own rhythm. Sporadic thuds can be heard as the mechanism turns.This installation
creates a delicately engaging interaction with the viewer, as its calls attention to itself if the
viewer is willing to stop and experience the limited movement.

Cotton fabric
Rotisserie chicken motors

Installed in Molly Wiley Art Building, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida
4' x 7' x 3'

 View from first floor of art building.