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Ceramics: An Atlas of Forms

A unique global, cultural history through five thousand years of ceramic forms.

What can we learn about the Roman Empire from an amphora made in 200 BCE? How can a simple, unadorned cup made in 1945 tell us so much about history? And what will an artwork comprising a vast collection of clay spheres tell our descendants about the act of making?

Once fired, clay has the strength to last for millennia. Practical uses aside, ceramic objects are a testament to the power and innovation of ancient and ongoing cultural traditions. A single piece can tell an invaluable story about its time, the people who made it, how it was collected, or its role within a broader cultural network.

Ceramics: An Atlas of Forms is a global cultural study told through the lens of ceramics. Organized chronologically―from an Egyptian ceremonial jar made over five thousand years ago to works by twentieth-century luminaries Lucie Rie and Bernard Leach, contemporary artists and entirely unknown makers―this collection weaves a tale of rich cultural stories through the diverse history of ceramics, honoring the artists who have left their mark on this timeless practice.

220 color illustrations