Jonah Augustine

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Grant number

Gr. 10068

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Augustine, Jonah (Independent Scholar) "The Aesthetic Production of Tiwanaku, AD 500-1100"

JONAH AUGUSTINE, an independent scholar, Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in April 2021 to aid research on ‘The Aesthetic Production of Tiwanaku, AD 500-1100.’ This project analyzed the physical characteristics of polychrome ceramics in order to identify and characterize various forms of ‘aesthetic production’ within the pre-Columbian Andean polity of Tiwanaku. ‘Aesthetic production’ encompasses both the production of aesthetically compelling ceramic vessels as well as the pleasure of ceramic production itself. The central empirical question was ‘Were the distinct ceramic assemblages found at Tiwanaku produced by different potters under different conditions?’ The evidence indicates that there were three general scales of ceramic production at Tiwanaku: elite crafting, centrally organized mass production, and household-level production, each with its own aesthetic and political stakes. For example, Tiwanaku elites’ capacity to produce and/or acquire exquisite art objects would have been an important index of social power within the city and polity. Alternatively, that people from various social positions within the Tiwanaku polity were actively (re)producing and playing with Tiwanaku ceramic style reveals how these potters took pleasure in Tiwanaku’s visual culture. Ultimately, Tiwanaku’s political community was predicated on both the consumption and production of a shared and aesthetically pleasing material culture.