Imagem card

Marajoara Art

The large and sophisticated artistic production of the ancient Marajoara is composed of chromatic or achromatic pieces that represent animals, called zoomorphs, and human/animal, anthropo-zoomorphs.

Marajoara Art

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 30/04/2015

By: Júlia Morim - N/I

The pre-Columbian inhabitants of Marajó Island, in Pará state, have left a part of their history through various artefacts. They are objects of household and ceremonial pottery, such as vases, plates, bowls, codpieces, figurines and funerary urns, decorated with drawings and graphics that tell us how they related to the world around them.

The large and sophisticated artistic production of the ancient Marajoara is composed of chromatic or achromatic pieces that represent animals, called zoomorphs, and human/animal, anthropo-zoomorphs. “Overall, the Marajoara pottery features decorative patterns with labyrinthine and repetitive designs, symmetric graphic traces in low or high relief, as well as grooves and applications.” (ARTE MARAJOARA, 2006). The drawings represent body parts or the whole animal, such as turtles, snakes, alligators and scorpions. The varying styles show that several different groups made up this Marajoara society.

Pre-Columbian Marajoara art has been re-signified and appropriate today as a symbol of identity of the Marajó and of Pará. Contemporary Marajoara art differs from the older, so does not carry its symbolic meaning. In addition,

The decorative motifs used are copied from books and magazines, forms are reinvented. Today, the artisans combine ancient scratchings with ceramics in new, often utilitarian, ways. Some vases have Marajoara motifs alongside landscapes and contemporary representations of birds and other animals, which is inexistent in archaeological ceramics. Nevertheless, the pottery is sold as ‘Marajoara’, with the explicit intention to give it a temporal depth and thereby adding value to it, negotiating its antiquity as something valuable. (SCHAAN, 2007, p. 113).

In Belém, the Emílio Goeldi Paraense Museum has a collection, called the Marajoara Collection – listed by the National Institute of Artistic and Historical Patrimony – composed of over two thousand archaeological pieces of ceramic from indigenous groups who have inhabited the Marajó region since 500 AD. It was there on a visit that Master Cardoso first saw the shapes, designs and graphics that went on to inspire his work. Thus, in the 1970s the Icoaraci district, a traditional producer of ceramics where Master Cardoso lives, became a distribution centre for replicas of Marajoara pieces. Over the years, the inclusion of other designs and shapes comprised a hybrid that became known as Icoaraci ceramics.

 

Recife, 24 May 2014.
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2015.
 

sources consulted

AMORIM, Lilian Bayma. Marajoara Art: a comunicação do silêncio. Belém: Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, 2010. Available at:
<http://www.museu-goeldi.br/portal/sites/default/files/
Downloads/Cat%C3%A1logo%20Cer%C3%A2mica%20Marajoara.pdf
>.
Accessed: 24 maio 2014.

ARTE Marajoara/Cerâmica Marajoara. In: ENCICLOPÉDIA Itaú Cultural Arte Visuais. 2006. Available at:
<http://www.itaucultural.org.br/aplicexternas/enciclopedia_ic/
index.cfm?fuseaction=termos_texto&cd_verbete=5353
>. 
Accessed: 24 maio 2014.

ICOARACI Polo de Artesanato da Amazônia. Cerâmica Icoaraci. Available at:
<http://www.icoaraci.com.br/ceramica_icoaraci.htm>. Accessed: 24 maio 2014. 

SCHAAN, Denise Pahl. A arte da cerâmica marajoara: encontros entre o passado e o presente.
Habitus, Goiânia, v. 5, n. 1, p. 99-117, jan./jun. 2007. Available at: <http://seer.ucg.br/index.php/habitus/article/viewFile/380/316>.
Accessed: 24 maio 2014.

how to quote this text

Source: MORIM, Júlia. Marajoara Art. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar>. Accessed: day month year. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.