In addition to agriculture and the breeding of useful plants and animals, the Incas carried to a remarkable extreme the manufacture of graceful, symmetrical pottery. They learned to recognize different kinds and qualities of potter's clay.
Pottery in Inca civilization
They selected localities marked by the finest type of clay for the worship of favorable divinities and the manufacture of the most delicate dishes.
During the Inca Empire the production of pottery in the Andes was an art already developed in the region for thousands of years. One characteristic of Inca pottery is that it did not portray the human form, unlike other cultures that thrived before them.
Metals used for Inca Pottery
Incan used gold and silver to make potteries. That is why lot of people searched for gold in last centuries. Certainly they also used copper, bronze and tumbago. They always used images with different colors in their potteries.
They liked bright colors like Red, Yellow and Orange. They always decorated their potteries with shapes like diamonds, squares, checkers, triangles and circles. They also liked to decorate them with pictures of animals and insects like that of Jaguars, alpacas, llamas, bird and butterflies.
Use of Inca Pottery
The Inca pottery was simple and useful. They produce two kinds of ceramics, the ceremony style and the massive production ceramics. They were in limited shapes, with a simple geometric decoration, stylized images of animals and day by day actions.
How was Inca Pottery Made
Utilitarian pottery was produced for everyday use and was usually thicker and less elaborate. The most common Inca vessel was the stirrup spout which is a bottle shaped vase intended for holding liquids with a long neck that forms the spout which usually serves as a handle.
There was nothing crude or uncouth about their pottery. Most of it was made with the utmost skill, hard finished with polished and painted surface from which every trace of the process of manufacture had been removed. Their pieces were admirably designed for the uses to which they were put and just enough decoration to please and satisfy the most fastidious owner.
Design of Inca Pottery
The Inca pottery design for religious ceremonies was send to all Inca Temples on the kingdom. The Inca artisans make them with an inlay of gold and gemstones. The Inca artisans also made special Aryballos, with the only purpose to be place in tombs of important authorities or great Inca warriors.
Ceremonial pottery also known as huaco was of the best quality material and the most elaborate, it was made specifically for ceremonial purposes or rituals only, such as in burial grounds containing drinks and food that the dead would need for its journey. The finest pottery and ceramic was produced for religious ceremonies. They would contain the food offered to the Inca gods such as Inti or Sun.
The use of the pottery as a way to express renegade feelings from conquered tribes against the Incas was a common practice. Each conquered tribe made its own pottery and kept it hidden from the Inca Government. They also use pottery to express personal feelings, sexual wishes, histories and adventures.