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The Barbier-Mueller Collection


The impressive richness of pre-Columbian ceramics

Bird-shaped vase, ceramic,Tarasque culture from Tzintzuntzán,
Mexico, 1300 – 1600 AD, h. 17,6 cm, l. 31,7 cm, d. 30,4 cm
Barbier-Mueller Collections © photo : Studio Ferrazzini Bouchet, Geneva


Fondation de l’Hermitage

Route du Signal 2
1000 Lausanne 8, Switzerland


Tel. + 41 21 320 50 01
Fax + 41 21 320 50 71
Web: www.fondation-hermitage.ch
E-Mail : info@fondation-hermitage.ch


Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Adults: CHF 15, Seniors : CHF 12
Students: CHF 7
Free under 18
Reduced prices for groups


Liliane Beuggert
Tel. + 41 21 320 50 01
L’Observatoire, Paris
Tel. + 33 1 43 54 87 71

This summer the Fondation de l’Hermitage is presenting a superb ensemble of over a hundred pre-Columbian ceramics from the Collection of the Museo Barbier-Mueller in Barcelona. Highlighting the essential role played by pottery in pre-Hispanic cultures, the exhibition gives the public the opportunity to discover pieces, most being shown for the first time, from all over the Americas from the south-western United States down to Peru, the oldest dating back to 1500 BC.

A striking variety of shapes and techniques

One of the distinctive features of pre-Columbian art is the development of ceramics. All the different pre-Hispanic cultures produced earthenware objects in a striking variety of shapes with remarkable technical skill. Sometimes the shaping of the piece clearly took precedence over decoration whereas, elsewhere, a very simple shape was chosen as the base for an extremely rich interplay of lines and colours. The superb textures of the pieces - some with a satiny sheen, others incised with a design or even quite roughly finished - attest to the artists’ mastery and make each one a work of art in its own right.

A close link with religious rites

More than simply showing us the various shapes and decorations used in the production of the ceramics, this exhibition will deepen our insight into the cosmogonical conceptions of the peoples who made them. The most elaborate pieces are, in fact, very rich in symbolism and closely linked with religious beliefs, and were above all intended for use as offerings in worship of the dead, funeral urns or representations of deities.
Organized together with the Barbier-Mueller Museums of Geneva and Barcelona, the exhibition enables the Fondation de l’Hermitage to pursue its exploration of the cultures of the Americas embarked on several years ago with L’or du Pérou (1988) and Equateur, la terre et l’or (1992).


Catalogue, co-edited by the Barbier-Mueller Museums and Somogy Editions d’art, 344 pages, 22,5 x 30 cm, 150 color illustrations, ISBN : 2-85056-658-6. Price at the museum : CHF 68

Special activities
Adults : guided tours, lectures, special evenings
Children : workshops, free brochures
Information and bookings : tel. + 41 21 320 50 01