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Origin and Development of Form and Ornament in Ceramic Art.
Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1882-1883,
Government Printing Office, Washington, 1886, pages 437-466.

written by "Holmes, William Henry, 1846-1933"
...it-shell, or stone, while serving as an auxiliary in some simple art, may have suggested the making of a cup, the simplest form of vessel. The use of clay as a cement in repairing utensils, in protecting combustible vessels from injury by fire, or in building up the walls of shallow vessels, may also have led to the formation of disks or cups, afterwards independently constructed. In any case the objects or utensils with which the clay was associated in its earliest use would impress their forms upon it. Thus, if clay were used in deepening or mending vessels of stone by a given people, it would, when used independently by that people, tend to assume shapes suggested by stone vessels. The same may be said of its use in connection with wood and wicker, or with vessels of other materials. Forms of vessels so derived may be said to have an adventitious origin, yet they are essentially copies, although not so by design, and may as readily be placed under the succeeding head. FORMS DERIVED BY IMITATION. Clay has no inherent qualities of a nature to impose a given form or class of forms upon its products, as have wood, bark, bone, or stone. It is so mobile as to be quite free to take form from surroundings, and where extensively used will record or echo a vast deal of nature and of coexistent art. In this observation we have a key that will unlock many of the mysteries of form. In the investigation of this point it will be necessary to consider the processes by which an art inherits or acquires the forms of another art or of nature, and how one material imposes its peculiarities upon another material. In early stages of culture the processes of art are closely akin to those of nature, the human agent hardly ranking as more than [Pg 446] a part of the environment. The primitive artist does not proceed by methods identical with our own. He does not deliberately and freely examine all departments of nature or art and select f...

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