Featured Artifacts: Manteño Ceramics
Manteño ceramics are recognizable because they are usually black in colour. This is the result of firing the pottery in an oxygen-poor environment, called a reducing atmosphere, which results in a build-up of black carbon on the vessel. Manteño ceramics are frequently polished to a high sheen giving them a beautiful black luster. Common types of Manteño pottery include jars with modeled faces attached to the vessel necks. Many of the faces are human, while others are animals, such as foxes. Some of the pieces in the SFU collection are the faces, both human and animal, from these types of jars.The Manteño culture is known from the south and central coastal region of Ecuador. It is a late prehistoric culture dating from around 700 AD to the arrival of the Spanish in the late 1520s. The Manteño culture was involved in extensive long distance trade to the south and the north along the Pacific coast. They used large balsa wood rafts to transport and trade goods. In one of Francisco Pizarro's early exploratory expeditions along the Ecuadorian coast, the Spanish captured a large raft laden with trade goods that is believed to have belonged to the Manteño people.