Ceramic Production in Early Hispanic California: Craft, Economy, and Trade on the Frontier of New Spain

Ceramic Production in Early Hispanic California: Craft, Economy, and Trade on the Frontier of New Spain

Ceramic Production in Early Hispanic California: Craft, Economy, and Trade on the Frontier of New Spain

Ceramic Production in Early Hispanic California: Craft, Economy, and Trade on the Frontier of New Spain

Synopsis

"One of the most authoritative and comprehensive analyses written to date on lifestyle, technology, identity, and economic interaction in a Spanish colony."--Wesley D. Stoner, Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor
"A benchmark publication. Extensively investigating mission- and presidio-associated ceramics, this book unearths the history of California as a remote area of New Spain that became integrated into a larger world system."--Patricia Fournier, National Institute of Anthropology and History, Mexico
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, much of what is now the western United States was known as Alta California, a distant corner of New Spain. The presidios, missions, and pueblos of the region have yielded a rich trove of ceramics materials, though they have been sparsely analyzed in the literature. Ceramic Production in Early Hispanic California examines those materials to reinterpret the economic position of Alta California in the Spanish Colonial Empire.

Using neutron activation analysis, petrography, and other analytic procedures, thousands of ceramic samples were examined. The contributors to this volume explore the region's ceramic production, imports, trade, and consumption. From artistic innovation to technological diffusion, a different aspect of the intricacies of everyday life and culture in the region is revealed in each essay. This book illuminates much about Spanish imperial expansion in a far corner of the colonial world. Through this research, California history has been rewritten.


Excerpt

California has always been a land of contrasts, both internally and when compared with other areas of North America. the early Spanish explorers and settlers remarked how like their homeland it was. Iberian agriculture and architecture adapted to the California coastal environment with ease. the populous and relatively peaceful native population contrasted sharply with tribal groups encountered in the interior provinces. But in spite of its uniqueness, California’s coastal location allowed it to play a role in the developing world economy at an earlier date than Texas or the southwest through maritime trade. California Indians in general proved to be such quick and enthusiastic learners of European skills that the Spanish government sponsored the establishment of various Hispanic craftsmen in the missions in the 1790s to facilitate further training in a wide variety of occupations. of these, potters proved to be one of the most useful.

Pottery, that all-important human cultural material since Neolithic times, had a rich history of development on the Iberian Peninsula. Production was transferred directly from Seville to such New World locations as Puebla and Mexico City and then diffused by trade to the markets of the northern frontier. With the establishment of the mission communities, ceramic use and production became an important part of the process of Hispanization of the local neophytes. While a few tribes to the far south already had ceramic traditions based on techniques of coiling and paddle-and-anvil shaping, pottery use was a new experience for the coastal tribes north of the Los Angeles Basin. the potter’s wheel . . .

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