World Ceramics: How was it made?

The Jaina figurines were principally made in molds that formed the entire front surface. While the figurine was in the mold, the artist added a thin sheet of clay by hand to the back, leaving the interior hollow. Then the back was PERFORATED in one or more places to make a whistle. In other figurines pellets of clay were placed inside to make a rattle.

In the finest figurines, much of the clay was hand modeled, or the face was formed in a mold, embellished by the artist, and the body and headdress added by hand. The maker of this figure shaped the delicate facial features and hairdo by hand and small pieces of clay were rolled to form the arms and headdress. Thin, flat sheets of clay were applied to make the skirt and apron. Even the toes were ARTICULATED.

After modeling, the figurine was covered with a layer of white SLIP made from clay mixed with enough water to make it liquid. When fired, the fine clay turned light tan or pink. After firing, it was painted with brilliant colors. The dignitary contains remnants of one of the most popular colors, a distinctive "Maya blue" PIGMENT that can still be seen on many of the pieces from this area.


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