Highlights From “Infinity of Nations”
A new exhibition explores thousands of years of artwork from the Native nations of North, Central and South America
- By Jess Righthand
- Smithsonian.com, January 04, 2011
(Walter Larrimore, National Museum of the American Indian)
Dating back to 3500 B.C., these figurines made by the Valdivia people of Ecuador are the oldest known ceramic pieces in the Western Hemisphere. The mostly female figures were likely symbols of fertility that the Valdivia used in agricultural ceremonies. Each one was sculpted from a single block of clay. The figures tend to have a straight posture, pronounced breasts, shoulders and neck, and a raised head with a small face.