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  • Lake River Ceramic & Shoto Clay-Ware (SW Washington)

    Lake River Ceramic

    Posted by [Hutchmar]
    I have been studying Lake River Ceramic (made 800 years ago near Columbia River in SW Washington) for quite a while, but there is so little scholarly information out there that was written about this enigmatic art form. I am wondering if any of you owners of pieces of this clay have any Ideas about the purpose of the items. For Instance, what were the Masquetts for? I am fairly confident that the beads and pendants were to wear, but what purpose did such small mallet heads serve. I have had the opportunity to see about 150 pieces with faces. Are the eyes closed or open, Why? Also, why did the ceramic makers not make plates, bowls or other articles of food prep? Why were all items so small? Does anyone think that children might have made these items? Like mud pies? I have so many questions about thic ware, and I am just wondering what some of the owners think about this stuff. The largest pieces seem to be less than 4 inches.. Why so small? Any thoughts? Thanks for sharing your Ideas.
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    Posted by [JoshinMo]
    Eyes look Asian.

    Posted by [Painshill]
    Hi Margaret
    What you’re showing there is, I believe, generally believed to be a cradleboard effigy.
    There have been previous threads on this topic, here:

    http://forums.arrowheads.com/forum/g...from-southwest
    http://forums.arrowheads.com/forum/g...ette-figurines
    http://forums.arrowheads.com/forum/g...tors-out-there

    Within those threads, David Heath (our member [Mule-Ear]) has kindly shared links to pdf downloads of his three 2011 publications on Shoto Clay-Wares, provided again here for convenience:

    Shoto Clay - Wares from the Lake River Ceramics Horizon of Southwest Washington State, Part 1 – Figurines:
    https://archive.org/details/Figurines_Part_1

    Shoto Clay - Wares from the Lake River Ceramics Horizon of Southwest Washington State, Part 2 - Club Heads:
    https://archive.org/details/Club_Heads_Part_2

    Shoto Clay - Wares from the Lake River Ceramics Horizon. Part 3 - Maskette Figurines:
    https://archive.org/details/Maskette_Figurines_Part_3

    “These papers… have been proposed with an aim of contributing to the body of knowledge related to the subject of ceramic wares, which have been recovered from the Lower Columbia River region in Southwest Washington State and are commonly referred to as Shoto Clay or Lake River Ceramics. Previous research and reporting on this subject has been limited due to a lack of professionally lead excavations and the limited availability of wares from which scientific study might be made.
    The author, over a span of several years, has attempted to locate privately held collections that contain these wares with a goal of photographing and obtaining basic data. Through various sources and informants, several local area collections were identified. These collections ranged in size but most were limited to only few examples. When permission could be obtained, photographs, measurements and associated information was collected.
    These efforts have resulted in identifying several hundred specimens, many of which had not been previously documented. In some instances, previously unknown ware types were additionally identified. This and future papers will serve as a presentation of the author's findings.”

    You don’t say what literature you have already found, but in addition to the first three parts of David Heath’s articles on these items referenced above, Part 4 (Pipes), is now also available. Here’s one of many library links to it:

    http://www.pugetsoundknappers.com/in...pes_Part_4.pdf


    Posted by [Hutchmar]
    I have all of Mr David Heaths booklets. I am hoping that he will put out some more. I also have also the 1968 Slocum/Matsen OAS booklet, and Dr. Alison Stenger's work from 2009. In Addition, I have corresponded with Alison Stenger about her research. I agree that the slanted eyes are Asian looking, but if the work is supposed to be a cradleboarded baby, it could simply be a grimacing baby face. I appreciate hearing anyones thoughts about these little works of art.....
    Margaret

    This Maskette was recovered at the hertzog site many years ago.(picture courtesy B C Artifacts, T Hardie) this is a well made maskette, and to me the figure appears to be asleep, dreaming or dead. What do others think about his? Can anyone explain to me why Lake River Ceramic seems to be kept out of discussions. I want to study it, and help figure out its purpose.
    image_2013-02-01.jpg

    [Posted by Oldie]
    Seems to be a fair amount of recent interest in this subject and new folks are surfacing to continue the study of these ceramics. Hutch mar - please share your ideas and thoughts.

    Study - get all of the written material on this subject you can find. Also study the archaeology of Lake River and the Portland Basin. Also read-up on Chinook Mythologies, culture and customs. Site Reports - get'em too!

    Also study local ceramics that preDate Shoto Clay like those recovered at Lady Island, Blue Lake, Cashdollar and Cholick.... Most of these early ceramics are utilitarian and not figural.

    Later Shoto Clay wares are almost exclusively human figures. The small size is easily palmed, and was perhaps used In local healing practices.... Perhaps something's was special,about lake river... A special place? .... Perhaps a healing center?... The large number of cradle board effigies might suggest high infant mortality? Or other need to otherwise protect infants?

    There also appears to be a number of wares that show human and animal features. Many of the animal effigies resemble those noted as guardian spirits for the Chinook... Turtle, owl, coyote, raven, beaver.... I never read that any writing (Asian or otherwise) has ever been found on these clay items... Just lines and impressions....

    I read wakemap Mound, located up river also produced a number of baked clay wares that share similarities with Shoto Clay... Mainly similar decorative methods such as incised lines, impressions and appliqué... And heavy use of human figurines....

    Posted by [Painshill]
    From what I read, I don’t get the impression that Lake River Ceramics are being “kept out of discussions” as you put it. More that archaeologists are well and truly stumped and have run out of ideas. As you know, all of the “leads” come to a dead end, not helped by the fact that many of the sites were well and truly pillaged by amateur collectors from the 1800’s onwards. Many of the artefacts were profitably dispersed to private collections all over the place – often without accompanying provenance – and this may in part explain the scarcity (but not complete absence) of larger items such as bowls in current museum collections.

    The theory for the (possibly Japanese) blacksmith “Shoto” being shipwrecked from a Spanish galleon and teaching ceramic crafts to the Chinook has been discredited since it happened 400 years later (if it actually happened at all). All we seem to be left with is that the anthropomorphic items suggest a people with an appearance that was non-Native to North America (or at least not pure-bred Native), but not of European origin.

    Incidentally, the fascination of groups of native people with figurine and effigy items produced in large numbers is by no means unique to this area. The Seti people of Sonora, Mexico for example had a similar fascination with unique forms of small clay figurines and odd-shaped amulets of unknown purpose. There are other instances too, except that in all of those cases, we know at least something about the people concerned… even if we don’t know for sure what the items were used for.

    It is really interesting though, isn’t it? Some human remains might help solve the “origin” mystery perhaps. The people were in the area for 3 generations so there ought to be burials. But I could foresee some interesting arguments about whether anything found was regarded as having Native American affinity with protection from NAGPRA or not. The same kinds of arguments that raged over “Kennewick Man”.

    Posted by [Hutchmar]
    I saw my first example of Lake River "shoto" Clay about 2 years ago, and have been studying it ever since. I have gotten every published booklet, and several other papers. After reading what is available, it is pretty apparent that no one really seems to know who made these wares, or what purpose they served. I am fascinated by this art form. The pieces are relatively small. I think it is possible that they were made by children.

    I have collected over 150 photos of different pieces and forms. The sculpture seems similar to other forms sculpted by the local peoples of the area. Many of the figures look like babies on cradle boards.

    How many museums have examples of these artifacts? They sure don't advertise it. Any museum that I have found that has any, keeps it stored away, along with any literature on the subject. Amateur archeologists, like myself, aren't usually given access to stored items.
    If there are collectors out there, I was hoping they would share their Ideas. Also, if there are any OAS members out there that participated it the Hertzog digs, maybe they could share what they found out during those digs. Thanks to all who have responded.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

  • #2
    Posted by [ArtifactJack]
    Hi Hutchmar - You asked for speculation as to the purpose of these Shoto baked clays. I've attempted to attach an image. Hopefully it made it through successfully. The image is a side by side comparison of native basketry designs and Shoto clays. I think there is ample evidence to support my contention that many of the clays are modeled after basketry designed, specifically those commonly referred to as "Sally Bags." These baskets were used for holding food goods. They would have been packed tightly with pounded salmon, wapato, camas, or a number of other food items. When fully packed their shape (except for the flatness) would have very much resembled the shape of the Baked Clays.

    So why would the natives be fashioning baked clays that resembled baskets of food? It seems likely to me that they were using the items as chits. They were IOUs. If your family was short on food, you would create one of these clays, and then offer it to a family that had plenty. You would be given a basket of food and would repay the debt when you were able. When the debt was repaid the clay would be returned and then broken. This would explain why the clays recovered from inside the lodges were typically broken whereas those outside were whole (my theory is that the pieces located outside were cached to be redeemed later).

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    Posted by [Hutchmar]
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. Your sally bags are very nice, too. Do you have photos of your ceramic pieces online, where I could look at them more closely? I really enjoy seeing new shapes and forms. Your pieces look very unique. Thanks again, I am adding a bead of mine for you to look at.

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    Posted by [ArtifactJack]
    I have a number of pieces to share, but they are not authentic. You see, I've been collecting clays from the banks of Sauvies Island and Lake River and firing those clays using different methods and temperatures. My goal is to identify the "how" with regards to the artifacts, in the hopes that this will lead to the "why."

    At this point (and my findings are far from conclusive) it appears to me the natives used a specific local clay, mixed with red ochre, the clay was then baked on rocks set within the hearth next to the fire.

    The appliqué process some have characterized as being highly technically advanced... is not. I tried it using several techniques; wetting both surfaces, scoring both, wetting and scoring both, etc. ...they all worked. In fact the local clay adheres so well, all you have to do is push one piece against another and it sticks. And holds up even when fired green.

    There has been some discussion about the natives utilizing a kiln. This is highly unlikely, as the clays were baked at a very low temperature. Even the most rudimentary kiln would be six to eight-hundred degrees (Fahrenheit) too hot.


    Posted by [kenwhite]
    Fascinating thread, thank you. Attached is a photo of the one piece of Shoto clayware in my collection. FYI, westernartifacts.com has a number available.

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    ArtifactJack wrote:
    “I have a number of pieces to share, but they are not authentic. You see, I've been collecting clays from the banks of Sauvies Island and Lake River and firing those clays using different methods and temperatures.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    ArtifactJack - please tell me you mark your reproductions? Do you sell or share your pieces? How can I acquire examples of your Shoto Clay? How can someone tell the difference between you piece and authentic old one?
    ArtifactJack wrote:
    “There has been some discussion about the natives utilizing a kiln. This is highly unlikely, as the clays were baked at a very low temperature. Even the most rudimentary kiln would be six to eight-hundred degrees (Fahrenheit) too hot.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    Agreed!
    Hutchmar wrote:
    “After reading what is available, it is pretty apparent that no one really seems to know who made these wares, or what purpose they served.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    That is one of the items that makes archaeology so interesting – “What was this, that or the other used for?” I can only speak for myself, but I believe the makers were native to the Portland Basin, most likely those related to the peoples of the Slough of the Chinookian linguistic stock. The specific names of Chinookian peoples reflected self-designations likely based on geography or activities rather than "tribes" in the western political sense. The peoples of the Slough were Middle Chinook and they included in historic times the "Shoto" of Lake Vancouver, the Multnomah, the Nechacolee near the Slough's headwaters along Blue and Fairview Lakes, and several groups along the slough designated by Lewis and Clark as "Skilloots." These ceramics are found in concentration at sites located along lake river, most notably Herzog.
    Hutchmar wrote:
    “…or what purpose they served.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    I would suggest they served as objects of cultural patrimony used for purposes associated with “one or more” local cultural tradition of some importance that has been lost to history and is now an extinct – this loss, likely occurring prior to the Columbia River malaria epidemics of the early 1830s (perhaps the Smallpox Epidemic of 1775–82).
    Breakage is not always the case with Shoto Clay. Only certain typologies were reported as having been found broken in concentration – typically the tablets and cigars. Conversely, club heads, maskettes, bowls, pipes and beads were nearly always complete. The the objects served different purposes or functions – mostly likely not utilitarian in nature.
    Hutchmar wrote:
    “… The sculpture seems similar to other forms sculpted by the local peoples of the area.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    Agreed.
    Hutchmar wrote:
    “Many of the figures look like babies on cradle boards.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    Agreed – The publication series by David Heath, “Part 1 – Figurines” shows on the cover an example of what he reported was a woman figure holding a tabular figurine. The close-up photo if the infant looks very much like the tablet figures.
    Hutchmar wrote:
    “How many museums have examples of these artifacts? They sure don't advertise it.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    Confirmed…. The Clark County Historical Museum (kept in safety deposit box, last I heard) , The Burke Museum (storage, not on public display) & The Smithsonian (storage, not on public display).
    Hutchmar wrote:
    “OAS members out there that participated it the Hertzog digs, maybe they could share what they found out during those digs.”
    Posted by [Oldie]
    The OAS prepared and published two reports on Herzog. See “Herzog Site Report” by Cam and Dave Foreman and Shoto Clay by Slocum/Matsen. Also see the OAS Duck Lake report by Slocum/Matsen. Also check the OAS newsletter, “Screenings” for details on the digs at Herzog in 1964-66. There was another dig done at Herzog in 1976-77, but no formal report was ever prepared.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

    Comment


    • #3
      painshill wrote:
      “...not helped by the fact that many of the sites were well and truly pillaged by amateur collectors from the 1800’s onwards.”
      Posted by [Oldie]
      Pillaged? - Herzog and Green Lake were both lease dig sites. Pay your $5 to the owner and you could dig (Chris Herzog's rule....fill-in your hole, and stay away from the river bank).
      Posted by [painshill]
      There was no “pay to dig” in the 1800’s and in later times “pay to dig” for anyone who coughs up $5 is surely pillaging in the archaeological sense.
      painshill wrote:
      “...Many of the artefacts were profitably dispersed to private collections all over the place”
      Posted by [Oldie]
      Only until recently. Most examples resided in a handful of local collections. Christenson being the largest by far.
      painshill wrote:
      “often without accompanying provenance”
      Posted by [Oldie]
      May sound bad - but documenting one's finds was not required back in the day. However, many of the shoto clay wares I've seen are marked with site, unit and depth.
      painshill wrote:
      “The theory for the (possibly Japanese) blacksmith “Shoto” being shipwrecked from a Spanish galleon and teaching ceramic crafts to the Chinook has been discredited since it happened 400 years later (if it actually happened at all).”
      Posted by [Oldie]
      Agreed!
      painshill wrote:
      “...All we seem to be left with is that the anthropomorphic items suggest a people with an appearance that was non-Native to North America (or at least not pure-bred Native), but not of European origin.”
      Posted by [Oldie]
      Similar position has been suggested by Stenger.
      painshill wrote:
      “Some human remains might help solve the “origin” mystery perhaps. The people were in the area for 3 generations so there ought to be burials.”
      Posted by [Oldie]
      et not suggest digging any burials please. Besides, I think most would agree the objects are not associated with burials - they are occupation site objects!
      Posted by [painshill]
      Yes, I know they are not associated with burials, but stray bones from burials = possibility of DNA such that ethnicity and dating of the site occupants could be determined!


      Posted by [ArtifactJack]
      I don't know why we keep having this "out of Asia" conversation when discussing these baked clays.

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      In answer to Oldie's questions:
      The pieces I product are not marked. They are also not for sale. I will be "marking" them with a hammer once I am done with my research.

      As troubling as this may be... I'm not sure how one would go about authenticating a piece without running some expensive tests. It's a good thing David Heath has cataloged so many. If you have an undocumented piece, I would urge you to have it documented.

      I'm baking up a few pieces at the moment (typing with burnt fingers - need to be more careful). These were made from two samples of clay from Lake River (no ochre in this batch). I'll post photos when they cool.

      Here are a few from tonight's baking...

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      Posted by [Hutchmar]
      Wow, all that is missing is the grayish overwash and the crushed shell sparkle that covers them. And 8 centuries of patina. The clay looks right on. Nice work. Did you make a tablet?
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

      Comment


      • #4
        Posted by [Oldie]
        Back in 2002, Dean Baker was a staff writer for the Columbian, wrote an article titled, “800 Yr Old Almond-Eyed, Dreadlocked Amulets A Mystery.” This article was full of errors and misinformation….

        "They were not Chinook Indians," said David Fenton, executive director of the Clark County Historical Museum.
        Pretty bold statement to make based on very limited research – mostly published by A. Stenger.

        "The critical issue about the ceramics is that we do not know who made them, but whoever it was, it wasn't the more recent inhabitants of the area," said Alison Stenger, an archaeologist with Portland's Institute for Archaeological Studies.
        Scientists have searched the Pacific Rim from the Pribiloff islands to Japan, Korea and China and haven't been able to find a link.
        = Dr. A. Stenger and H. Steele

        No one knows. But these early settlers brought with them knowledge that Indians did not have. They built kilns and they made art here for about three generations, then vanished as suddenly as they arrived.
        I disagree with the statement, “…knowledge that Indians did not have.” As the archaeological record for the Portland Basin shows baked clay objects were being produced as earlier period sites. Also the use of Kilns has only been report by A. Stenger. The Kiln image shown in her Vanished Peoples book looks like an animal burrow located just under the surface.

        "What perplexed the archaeologists as early as 1964 was there is no record of any tribe in this region having a ceramic tradition -- either creating it or using it.
        A lack of historical record does not preclude or rule out the use of clay by native people in this region. In fact, clay artifacts have been found in limited numbers along the length of the Columbia River at various sites and locations. The clay artifacts are different in that Shoto Clay ceramics is different from Wakemap Mound ceramics, Cascadelocks ceramics or Vantage area ceramics. The use of applique’s has been found with both Shoto Clay and Wakemap Mound ceramics.

        A process called thermoluminescence, a kind of carbon dating used on clay, shows that the mystery artists lived between the flushing channel of Vancouver Lake and the mouth of the Lake River at the Columbia River from around 1210 to 1330.
        Wrong – the firing temperatures involved with shoto clay proved to be below the required threshold for TL to be used. Three Shoto clay samples were reportedly sent to two different TL labs (one in US, one in UK), both could not get a TL marker. This is further support that a low fire technology shuch as pit or hearth fire was used (not a kiln fired).

        The 1210 to 1330 date actually comes from very limited carbon samples collected by C. Hibbs and A. Stenger from a couple of test pits at Felida Moorage site in the mid 1980s. The work was limited and no official report was ever prepared – C. Hibbs did present a lecture paper on the dig. The C14 data we have is too limited a sample run to correctly define a Shoto Clay chronology or temporal distribution within the archaeological record. Based on the artifact assembleges recovered from Shoto clay sites, the ceramics were clearly being produced during Dr. R. Pettigrew’s “Multnomah Phase (1750 B.P. to 200 B.P.)”

        For years, the pieces were known as the Shoto clay ceramics, after a theory postulated by German-born American anthropologist Franz Boas, (1858-1942).
        Wrong – Shoto Clay was a term applied by B. Slocum and K. Matsen as a locational reference that these ceramic objects are recovered from the area reported as the “Shoto Village” by L&C.

        "But the more the archaeologists tried to connect this to a native culture, the more they came up empty," said Fenton. "So they're very firm in their belief that this is a pre-culture to the Chinook Indians."
        Not True – Up until the time of this article, very little had been written on the subject so how to make this claim? I suspect Mr. Fenton’s information source is Dr. A. Stenger.

        Some privately owned artifacts have been discredited by modern archaeologists because they were obtained illegally or their discovery wasn't properly documented, Fenton said. Some of these were given to the museum by anonymous donors, he said.
        “Anonymous donors” was not anonymous. It was OAS member R. Hoffarber and his group that donated the clay after digs they did at Felida Moorage. Hoffarber wrote about the dig to the Smithsonian in a series of letters.

        The scientists have been careful not to pinpoint exactly where the finds were made, fearing more illegal digs.
        For locals – this is not a very good secret.

        "They've basically trashed the archaeological sites to add to the mystery," Fenton said
        This was the property owner’s fault who operated a pay-lease digs at Herzog and Green Lake in the 1950s – 1970s. In fact, WSU was approached to excavate at Herzog in the early 1960s, but they declined. OAS paid for the rights to dig at Herzog in 1964-66. It is unfair to apply today’s excavation standards to the activities of those done 30-50 years ago. It does no good to berate efforts of those who have helped to bring an awareness to Shoto Clay… Butler, Slocum/Matsen, Foreman, Hoffarber, Hibbs, Stenger, Heath….

        The museum plans to compile a catalog of the clay finds for archaeologists to use around the world. They also plan to make a traveling exhibit for the Pacific Northwest to boost the Clark County Historical Museum's reputation and to raise funds for more collections, Fenton said.
        We are still waiting for this traveling exhibit and I am unaware if the CCHM has purchased anymore Shoto Clay wares.
        I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hutchmar wrote:
          “...The clay looks right on.”
          Posted by [Oldie]
          It sure does - I can see the small mica in the clay. Was the clay collected at Lake River or Sauvie Island? Looks like Lake River clay to me....
          artifactjake - do you wash, clean or otherwise prpare the clay before working with it? Dr. Senger wrote that the clays were washed and mixed.

          Posted by [ArtifactJack]
          Hi Oldie,
          Well... not sure how much I want to reveal about the process. I've a feeling a number of "new discoveries" will soon be showing up on eBay.

          Alison may be right about the clay being washed and mixed prior to use, but my experiments would indicate it was the river that did the mixing and washing.

          I've sampled and baked clays from eleven different strata. There is one that is far superior to the others (in fact, it's superior to most commercial clays) and is present on Sauvies Island and Lake River. But this clay does not fire to the correct color (if in fact there is a correct color... though many of the original Shoto clays are a reddish orange, gray and white is also present. It would appear a number of different clays were used by the natives... and not necessarily mixed)

          I use the clays as found, with one exception, which is to add red ochre to sample #9 (that's the good one).

          The two pieces I posted are Lake River #10 and #11.

          Posted by [Hutchmar]
          Hello Artifact Jack! Are the pictured clays of your avatar real examples of Lake River/ Shoto clay? Or are they ones ones that you have baked? Either way, Would you be willing to share photos of them with me, or with this forum? I feel that the more examples that can be Shared, the more Ideas will come to mind as to their purpose. I have a hunch that some of the most beautiful examples of this art form have yet to be seen. (Although Mr. Heath did a great Job documenting so many pieces in his 4 booklets.) What have you discovered with your baking experiment? Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. Margaret ...A Hertzog site example from 1958,,,

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          Posted by [ArtifactJack]
          Hi Margaret,
          What a great example... for a couple reasons.

          Note the uniformity of the markings below the face. It looks to me as if the green clay was rolled across the surface of a basket. You'll note that there are diagonal marks within those markings. This could have been caused by the fibers of the splints.

          Another great thing about this piece... it has that really peculiar nose that is found on many of the Shoto clays. From my research I know that the Chinook and their neighbors used attributes to indicate specific spirit beings. Tsagaglalal is perhaps the most recognizable, but there are numerous others. One of note is "crooked mouth" and he is easily identifiable because... well... he has a crooked mouth. (In the mythology he fights a mountain, and gets hit in the mouth with a whalebone club)

          The artists creating these images are obviously making the noses this way for a purpose. My guess would be that they are referencing a particular spirit being. But I haven't found a myth that correlates with this odd nose.


          Posted by [Hutchmar}
          i agree with you. It does appear that a woven basket or matt was used to imprint into the clay. Here is another Hertzog site piece from the late 1950's. Will you share photo of your pieces?

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          I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

          Comment


          • #6
            Posted by [ArtifactJack]
            not sure what the interest is in viewing reproductions (and pretty sorry ones at that), but here are a few more:

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            Posted by [Hutchmar]
            Your pieces are really interesting. What is the texture like? Your pieces are amazingly similar to the real thing. Did you learn anything by making these pieces? Did you bake them in an oven? Or on a hearth? I am glad that you will be breaking these after you are through. Thanks for sharing them.

            Posted by [ArtifactJack]
            The texture is like fine grit sandpaper. The pieces "clink" when you tap them with a finger (low level vitrification).

            I've baked and fired them using several methods and devices. My conclusion is that the originals were baked next to the "hot spot" of a small wood fire.

            If you would like to approximate a piece of your own, here is the method: Gather some clay from a riverbank (free of sand and organic matter), make some mud pies, allow them to dry thoroughly (a few days), and then set them up tight against your next campfire (just below the marshmallows).

            There are a couple other important details, which I will purposely leave out. But you'll have a product remarkably similar to the Shoto clays.

            It's not rocket science, and it falls in line with the technologies the indigenous population had available.
            I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

            Comment


            • #7
              Posted by [Mule-Ear]
              Interesting read and thank you….

              Over the years, many people have commented about the “Asian Like” eyes that typify anthropomorphic tabular figurines. It is my opinion that the “Asian Like” eyes are essentially a prescribed standard for the ware type or art form – just like Artifactjack (John?) noted with the series of dots used in the region where the nose should be.

              While artistic liberty was practice by the crafter, they additionally maintained certain required standards for the art form.

              … David Heath

              Posted by [Hutchmar]
              Hello Mr Heath. I absolutely agree that the asian eyes are not necessarily asian The sculpture perhaps represent infants in cradleboards/cradlebaskets. The multiple lines that represent the nose on some figures reminds me of the protrusions above the mouth on a sturgeon.

              Posted by [ArtifactJack]
              I get in trouble when I start posting about the mythology. So I'll just point out a detail that most people miss. The cradleboard was not the standard... the Chinookan people used three different styles of cradles (for head deformation). The cradleboard seems to have been an adaptation of the cradle used on the Columbia Plateau. It was a late comer to the Lower Columbia.

              The most common cradle used right up through the early contact period was the "kannim," which literally means "canoe." As the name implies it was more or less shaped like a tiny canoe. A public forum is no place to go into the details, but there is an association of all these elements in the mythology.

              My dilemma, with regards to the imagery on the clays, is an old standard: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

              I maintain the designs moved from the baskets onto the clays, (which would support my theory that they were used as chits) but the design might have migrated the other way.

              In either event, I don't believe we are looking at cradleboards. I believe what we are looking at are babies in baskets. If you know the cycle of myths surrounding At!-At!-a-lia then you will see the significance.

              Coincidentally, there are only two known carved masks from the Lower Columbia, both are of At!-At!-a-lia.

              Have a look at them and see if they don't remind you of the maskettes (You can find them in the book People of the River, which was a companion to the Portland Art Museum's exhibit of the same name.)

              Now to change the subject entirely...
              Some of these clays are painted. It looks to me as if the pieces were painted after they were baked. Now the part that's going to blow your mind... these clays are small. You only need a little paint. Did they grind that pigment in mortars... or in their mouths? If they used a mortar, did they moisten the pigment with water or with saliva?

              I think there is a high probability we have DNA.


              Posted by [ArtifactJack]
              Oh! Yes, hi david. It is me. I only become ArtifactJack when I remove my glasses and put on my cape.


              Posted by [Mule-Ear]
              Regarding the tabular figurines - it is looking like more and more people are in agreement that this ware type is may be a representation of an infant (in basket, blankets, cradel...). I'll stop short of saying this ware type is always representing an infant, as there are some exterme examples. ..David

              ArtifactJack wrote:
              “The most common cradle used right up through the early contact period was the "kannim," which literally means "canoe." As the name implies it was more or less shaped like a tiny canoe. A public forum is no place to go into the details, but there is an association of all these elements in the mythology.”
              Posted by [Mule-Ear]
              ... and this method typically resulted in a "concial shaped" head. The tabular figs. tend to be more kite shaped or "Wedge" shaped.
              ...David

              Posted by [ArtifactJack]
              Hi David,
              I think you are spot on. At!-At!-a-lia is the daughter of grizzly bear man. In the image most people would know her by, she has bear ears.
              I will hunt down your email and explain further.

              As for the "babies"... in the words of Groucho Marx "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

              Posted by [Mule-Ear]
              I would like to bring to your attention “my latest efforts” to help share information related to research on the subject of Shoto Clay wares (Assoc.: Lake River Ceramic Horizon). As you know, I have assembled a fair amount of information (more than photos…) on this subject and have come to the realization that if there is to be continued research, the information I have collected must be vetted and shared so that it may be used to support the future research of others.

              Click image for larger version

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              www.facebook.com/SCCRG
              • See the SCCRG Photos Albums, which contain “Subject Specific” photos and information.
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              Any participation, material support and contributions to help advance the study and research of the Lake River Ceramic Makers is welcomed …
              Warmest regards, David Heath
              I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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