Potters and Pottery Making in the Western Highlands of Guatemala: Their Social and Economic Setting, the Technique of the Trade and Important Public Health Aspects
Tourney, Catherine Marie
MetadataShow full item record
I went to Totonicapan, Guatemala with the intention of studying the art and technology of the traditional pottery. My aim was to study the ceramics market and to see if the introduction of plastics and metals was having any effect on the traditional ceramic ware and market of Totonicapan. During the first days of my study I was surprised at the decline in craftsmanship and the "degenerated" state of ceramics. Instead of pottery with aesthetic and utilitarian function, I found the practice of using molds, oil paints, and rapid production of only several basic types. Therefore, I studied this aspect of the pottery technology. In addition to studying the adoption of molds and oil paints, I noticed many lead glazed pots.. Because of an interest in glaze technology, and the knowledge that lead is very toxic, I investigated the lead glaze technology of Totonicapan. Also, I was concerned as to what consequences the technology may hold for the health of the potters, and individuals who may use the ceramic ware for eating, as well as making toys. Finally, on seeing that an attempt to change the lead glaze technology, and introduce new techniques in the ceramics industry of Totonicapan had been made, I became curious as to why new ideas are not being adopted. Therefore, I tried to look at aspects inside and outside of ceramics and Totonicapan, in order to find an answer to the failure for adoption of new technologies.