Moche Culture, Peru

Moche Culture

The Moche or Mochica people were a pre-Columbian culture that occupied the northern coast of Peru and the Moche River valley from around 100 B.C. to 800 A.D. Also sometimes referred to as the Early, Pre- or Proto-Chimu, Moche refers to the river they lived near, while Mochica is a Chimuan language (although there is no evidence that it is the language the Moche spoke). The Moche lived at the same time [...] Click here to continue reading.


Vermeil – definition

Vermeil

“Vermeil” is a French word co-opted by the English in the 19th century for a silver gilt process. Vermeil is a combination of silver and gold, although other precious metals are also occasionally added, that is then gilded onto a sterling silver object. The reddish (vermilion) hue of the addition of the gold gives the product its name. Vermeil is commonly found in jewelry, and a standard of quality (10 karat gold) and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartonnage – definition

Cartonnage

Cartonnage is the term for layers of fibers, most often linen and papyrus, mixed with a plaster that could be shaped or molded while wet, almost like a papier-mache process that uses whole sections of fibers rather than the pulped or shredded paper used with papier-mache. In ancient Egypt, this technique was used in the funerary process to create masks, paneled sections or even complete cases to cover the body, which would have [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.

An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


Chinese Dynastic Chronology

Chinese Dynastic Chronology

Note: In general, the p4A reference database uses the Pinyin naming convention system for Chinese Terminology. Where the name varies under the Wade-Giles system p4A will present that alternative in brackets. For example: Qing [or Ch'ing] Dynasty.

Neolithic Period, circa 6500 to 1700 BC

Xia Dynasty, circa 2100 to 1600 BC

Shang Dynasty, circa 1600 to 1100 BC

Zhou [or Chou] Dynasty, circa 1100 to 256 BC Western Zhou, circa 1100 [...] Click here to continue reading.


Celt

Celt

Small celts were used as skinning tools. Larger examples could have been used as small chopping devices, like a small ax. Sizes can vary greatly, and they can be made out of slate or granite. They would correctly be classified as tools, as would a stone ax or hammer.

Reference note by p4A editorial staff, November 2011.


Plummets

Plummets

The artifact that we call a plummet, named for the resemblance of its tear-drop shape to the carpenter’s plumb-bob, first appeared in the Late Archaic period, about 1000 B.C. They are found all over the U.S., and the world as well, made from various materials available in the local area either naturally or by trade, including hematite, hardstone, copper, antler and marine shell. They may be well crafted, ornamented and polished or crude [...] Click here to continue reading.


Collection of Earl Townsend, Jr.

Collection of Earl Townsend, Jr.

The singularly most significant collection of North American Prehistoric Art and Artifacts ever assembled.

Earl Townsend, Jr., who died in 2007, was a passionate collector and historian of Native American artifacts. His storied collection of prehistoric stone Indian artifacts remains one of the largest and best collections ever assembled. Hubert C. Wachtel, author of Who’s Who in Indian Relics, called Townsend’s collection “one of the finest in the United [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hematite Artifacts

Hematite Artifacts

Hematite is the mineral form of iron oxide comprising up to 70 percent iron. It is colored black to gray, brown or red, usually with a rust-red streak. The mineral takes its name from the Greek, “haimatites”, which we translate as bloodlike, thus the name alludes to the vivid red color of the iron powder.

Hematite is harder than pure iron, but much more brittle. Large deposits of hematite are found in [...] Click here to continue reading.


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