Canelos Quichua Pottery Ring Mounts overview image

Canelos Quichua Pottery Ring Mounts

  • Post Date: 4/6/2019
  • Author: John Holton
  • Reading Time: 2 minute read

Spurlock Museum has a remarkable collection of Canelos Quichua pottery from Ecuador. These ceramic vessels are often very thin and molded into complex anatomical shapes. Because of the unique features of these designs, specialized long-term artifact supports are needed. To improve upon our storage situation for this nearly 600-piece collection, the Collections team have begun creating custom-sized foam ring mounts to help prevent the round-bottomed vessels from rocking while being stored on movable shelving units.

  • Pottery laying on a large bag of foam.
    Many of the vessels are currently stored on bolsters filled with foam peanuts, as seen here. This storage method is not space-efficient: the bolsters take up significantly more space than the vessels themselves. Custom-sized ring mounts provide increased stability for the vessel while maximizing the efficiency of our storage space.
  • Pottery with ring mounts on top of table.
    With the newly built custom-sized foam rings, the round-bottom vessels wont rock while being moved on a cart or stored on a mobile shelving unit. So far, Collections staff have completed nearly 250 ring mounts! This project supports the long-term preservation of this unique collection, while freeing valuable shelf space for our growing number of artifacts.
  • Person standing at table measuring foam.
    Collections volunteer Megan begins making a ring mount by determining the length of foam needed to wrap around the base of the vessel.
  • Person sitting at table with foam and ribbon.
    She then creates a slit in the foam and tucks in a length of cotton ribbon, which acts as a fastener to hold the foam into a ring shape.
  • Person glueing foam.
    Once the ring is secured with the ribbon, hot glue is applied to strengthen the connection between the two foam ends.
  • Person sewing.
    Finally, the artifact’s accession number is sewn on to the foam ring so it can’t be disassociated from its specific vessel.

If you’d like to learn more about these incredible pieces, or see some for yourself in person, come by our exhibit South America: "Commonalities in Diversity." We currently have over 50 examples on display.