Ancient Art as Inspiration

March 22, 2015 , In: Ceramic Clay, Clay, Culture, Inspiration
I have long been a fan of ancient art. I love the textures, the forms, the depth of history. I am sharing here a brief visual tour of a few examples, along with recent work inspired by these and other ancient forms…
“DOGU”, discovered in remains of Aomori. Jomon-era. BC.3,500 – BC.2,500. Aomori Japan.


Female-effigy ceramic burial urn, Northern Andes, Columbia,
South America, 1,000–1,500 AD. 23 x 40″ in circumference
Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey’s stunning Gobekli Tepe
upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization.
12th- 9th centuries BC- Female Figure, possibly
from Las Bocas, in what will later be Mexico. 


Neolithic Figure – 3500 BC


Ancient Yemeni goddess figurine.


Goddess Figure Pakistan (made) Date: circa 2nd century BCE (made) This particular piece
was recovered by Colonel D.H. Gordon from a site at Charsadda Shaikhan Dheri, Gandhara, Pakistan.


Female figurine (Psi-type), clay, Mycenaean, Late Helladic III B-C period 1300-1150 BC
Photos taken by Linda Landig in a museum in Oaxaca. They were all discovered in the
tombs in Monte Alban. Monte Alban is located on a leveled out mountain top
at 6,400′ elevation. It was a Zapotec holy site. The burial city for the noble.
Originally contucted about 500 BC. 


Photos taken by Linda Landig in a museum in Oaxaca.
More work from the Monte Alban site.


Photo by Niky Sayers of Egyptian faience beads at the British Museum. 


Photo by Niky Sayers of Aztec carvings at the British Museum.


BC.3,500 – BC.2,500. Japanese ceramic figurine “DOGU”.
Jomon period. Excavation place / Nagano Japan.


Female Figure / 300 BCE-400 CE / Mexico, Mesoamerica, Michoacan /
Chupicuaro Culture / Ceramic, pigment / The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.


Cradle of Civilization Goddess Hattusa (Ḫa-at-tu-ša, read “Ḫattuša”)
was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. 


Deep Vessel with Handles Middle Jōmon period (ca. 3500–2500 B.C.).
Japan (Source: The Metropolitan Museum) .

Bird-Headed Figure Whistle, 8th–9th century Mexico, Veracruz Ceramic.

Recent work by me and a couple of my Art Jewelry Elements fellow bloggers, inspired by ancient art:

Goddess figures by Jenny Davis-Reazor


Goddess figures by Jenny Davis-Reazor


Goddess figures by Jenny Davis-Reazor
Goddess figure in a jewelry piece by Jenny Davis-Reazor


Amulets by Diana Ptaszynski


Amulets by Diana Ptaszynski


Bird forms by me (Karen Totten)


Goddess forms and other beads by me (Karen Totten)


Goddess form by me (Karen Totten)

I hope you enjoyed this little survey.  🙂



Karen Totten

Karen has worked professionally as an artist and designer for over 30 years in a variety of creative disciplines: architectural design, illustration, art direction, mixed media art, interaction design. She currently works full time as a User Experience (UX) Design Principal for an international consultancy. When not flying to work every week, her other passions are ceramic art, sketching, and occasionally, jewelry design. “For me, the creative life, from UX to fine art, has always been one of exploration and adventure. As the daughter of an air force navigator, I grew up a traveler. To this day I am intrigued by stories and motifs that transcend time, culture, and geography.“
  1. Reply

    I love your goddess form! Interesting article and great photos. Thank you!

  2. Reply

    Fascinating post, Karen! I especially like the Goddess Hattusa. Its almost contemporary looking – such clean lines!

    • Reply

      Thanks Linda, I love that one too! I also love the Japanese DOGU.

  3. Reply

    Great post! I loved seeing the contemporary art inspired by the ancient art. All very beautiful!

  4. Reply

    Yes! I am always thrilled to share excitement and inspiration… nice to know Im not the only one, you know! Great reference post. I admit I was quizzing myself, trying to identify culture or region before reading the picture captions. Im such an art history geek.

    • Reply

      Thanks Jennifer – I am an art history geek too!

  5. Reply

    These are wonderful! I love the goddess pieces! You have captured the look and texture of ancient pieces.

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