Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Art History

First Advisor

James Farmer

Second Advisor

Robert Hobbs

Third Advisor

Michael Schreffler


Ten painted Cajamarca-style ceramic spoons form the foundation for an investigation of the way that these seemingly utilitarian objects were bestowed with economic and symbolic value both within and outside of the borders of the Cajamarca region, located in the north highlands of present-day Peru. Since the ceramic spoons have been recovered from sites associated with large and powerful societies and states, such as the Moche of the north coast and the Wari of the central highlands, an analysis of the form, style and imagery present on these spoons reveals how these objects transcended cultural boundaries. To assess and evaluate the cultural traits shared by the Cajamarca and neighboring polities, George Kubler’s concept of form-classes, which groups together objects with similar primary traits regardless of chronology, is utilized. The application of the concept of form-classes is significant because of the lack of written language in the region and the dearth of archaeological investigations in the Cajamarca area. Consequently, the form and style of the object is considered as the primary point of analysis and can be compared and contrasted with the form and style of spoons from other pre-Hispanic cultures, including the Wari, Huarpa and Chimu. Perceived as small, utilitarian items, ceramic spoons were actually elite goods traded or carried across thousands of miles for the purpose of establishing new, and reaffirming existing, ideological connections in a period of intense exchange and economic growth.


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