JSU and Mississippi Museum of Art present exhibition of Pre-Columbian ceramic vessels

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University has partnered with the Mississippi Museum of Art to present the exhibit, Mirrors of Clay: Reflections of Ancient Andean Life in Ceramics from the Sam Olden Collection, from Aug. 30 – Nov. 15. The exhibit will be displayed in the Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Gallery, located on the university’s main campus, 1400 John R. Lynch St. in Jackson. Due to Hurricane Isaac, the opening reception scheduled for Aug. 30 has been rescheduled to 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.

The show will feature 60 ceramic vessels from ancient Andean American cultures, including the Cupisnique, Chavín, Vicús, Nazca, Moche, Tiwanaku, Lambayeque, and Chimú, which flourished between 1200 BCE and 1550 CE. These distinctive vessels, selected from the collection of Sam Olden, were given to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The pieces reveal each culture’s stylistic aesthetics, religious ideologies and political roles. The Pre-Columbian vessels in the exhibition are mainly from the Andean region of South America, which includes the modern countries of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

Jackson State University art professor Yumi Park is the author of the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which was published by the University Press of Mississippi. A scholar of Pre-Columbian and Native American art, Park focuses especially on the Andean civilizations of South America.

“Jackson State University is honored to partner with the Mississippi Museum of Art and the University Press of Mississippi to present this wonderful exhibit, which provides us with a window to the ancient world,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “We are delighted that we can contribute our talents and expertise to such an important project.”

Photo credit: Eric Huntington

In the exhibition catalogue, Park analyzes technologies, forms and decorative designs to reveal the unique aesthetics, social stratifications, religious ideologies and political roles within each culture. Ancient Andean potters expressed their native individualities by depicting the forms of warriors, deities, architecture, flora, fauna and daily life on their ceramic vessels. The catalogue introduces the important role of ceramics in understanding ancient Andean beliefs about communication with ancestors, cosmic reciprocity and shamanism.

“The ceramics on view are fascinating, rare treasures of ancient life along the Andes Mountains range,” said Beth Batton, who is the Curator of the Collection at the Mississippi Museum of Art. “This exhibition is a must-see for all ages, allowing a unique opportunity to view ceramic vessels, many of them more than 1,200 years old.”

Photo credit: Eric Huntington

Collector Sam Olden lived in Peru during the 1970s. After visiting various archaeological sites and museums, including the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Peru, he became enamored with the ceramic vessels of the ancient Andes. Olden later settled in Yazoo City, Miss., and began to build an extensive collection of ancient Andean ceramics, eventually making a large donation to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Sam Olden Collection provides tangible and visible evidence of the social activities, political events and ideological beliefs of ancient Andean cultures.

“The Mississippi Museum of Art is grateful that Sam Olden so lovingly collected these objects and cared for them until he generously gave or loaned them to the Museum for the people of Mississippi to enjoy,” said Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art.

About the exhibition catalogue:

Mirrors of Clay
Reflections of Ancient Andean Life in Ceramics from the Sam Olden Collection
By Yumi Park
Photographs by Eric Huntington
Foreword by Beth Batton and Betsy Bradley
Introduction by Sam Olden
Published by University Press of Mississippi
Distributed for Jackson State University

Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Gallery hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, 1-8 p.m.
Sunday, 1-4 p.m.

Jackson State University
Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Building
1400 John R. Lynch St., Jackson, Miss.
Phone: 601-979-0879

– JSU –

 About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives
Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

About the Mississippi Museum of Art
The Mississippi Museum of Art’s mission is to “engage Mississippians in the visual arts.” The Museum is located at 380 S. Lamar St. in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art’s exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit www.msmuseumart.org. The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


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