Crafting Cosmopolitanism: Ceramic Production and Exchange During Wari Imperialism (600-1000 CE)

35 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2022

See all articles by M. Elizabeth Grávalos

M. Elizabeth Grávalos

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David A. Reid

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Donna J. Nash

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Patrick Ryan Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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Abstract

The expansive Wari state of the Middle Horizon (600–1000 CE) was the first political structure to unify the south-central and north-central Andes. Simultaneously, Wari’s political and cultural influence was not uniform across the diverse populace whom they sought to integrate. In this paper, we propose that a localized view of cosmopolitanism is apt for analyzing heterogenous Wari politics and its impacts on social identities and economies. Rather than assuming cosmopolitan worlds were constituted only in elite contexts, we consider how Wari cosmopolitanism was born out of the everyday and influenced by the localized practices, concerns, and motives of differing groups. We apply this perspective to the study of ceramic production and exchange across disparate Andean regions. Here we integrate new laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) data with previously published data to assess ceramic compositional variability across three regions: Ancash, Arequipa, and Moquegua (N=179). This new sample set consists of Wari finewares (e.g., Viñaque, Okros, Chakipampa), Wari-related or emulated materials, local Middle Horizon styles with Wari influenced motifs, and Middle Horizon plainwares. Previous compositional studies suggest that artisans in the Wari heartland of Ayacucho and the Moquegua province crafted imperial ceramic styles for elite consumption within centralized production zones. However, our findings indicate that, in Ancash and Arequipa, the production of Wari emulated pottery drew upon established local knowledge of clay sources. Data suggest that local groups used clays with similar geochemistries to produce both fine and plainwares. Simultaneously, these production strategies were complemented by the influx of Wari finewares from other regions, but the consumption of these prestige goods was not necessarily restricted to elite centers. We thus argue that Wari cosmopolitanism was constituted by local and global processes that were part of everyday life. Moreover, ceramic production and exchange was not necessarily controlled by Wari elites in all contexts nor was it part an imperial wealth-finance system.

Keywords: LA-ICP-MS, ceramic geochemistry, craft production, Cosmopolitan states, Middle Horizon, Andes

Suggested Citation

Grávalos, M. Elizabeth and Reid, David A. and Nash, Donna J. and Williams, Patrick Ryan, Crafting Cosmopolitanism: Ceramic Production and Exchange During Wari Imperialism (600-1000 CE). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4197826 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4197826

M. Elizabeth Grávalos (Contact Author)

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David A. Reid

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Donna J. Nash

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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Patrick Ryan Williams

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