Ecuador, Manteño Ceramic Bead (Pre-Colombian)

Date: c. 850 - 1600 CE
South America

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Item Description:

 These ceramic beads, featuring detailed hand-carved designs, come from a culture known as the Manteño to the Spanish colonizers. Their true name has unfortunately been lost to time, as the Manteño did not have a written language and most of what we know about them comes from Spanish sources.

The Manteño culture flourished along the Ecuadorian coast from about 850 to 1600 CE, and was best known for its impressive maritime trade network. Their society traded and produced a variety of valuable goods, including intricately designed ceramic vessels and figurines depicting humans, animals, and geometric patterns.

However, their achievements went beyond trade and craftsmanship. The Manteño demonstrated advanced agricultural practices and resource management by constructing human-made earthen drainage basins called albarradas. These structures cleverly distributed water to support their thriving communities. They also set up specialized settlements focused on specific trades, showcasing their complex social organization and division of labor. These accomplishments highlight their adaptability and innovation, which played a vital role in maintaining their prosperous society.

Even with the disruption caused by the Spanish conquest, the Manteño culture's remarkable craftsmanship and diverse artifacts stand as a testament to their sophisticated social hierarchy, ensuring their legacy endures for generations to come.

From around 1975 to 2010, these beads were part of the Swedish collection of Leif Sjöberg. Subsequently, several private individuals owned them before they were eventually acquired by History Hoard.

Each coin comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.


Your order will include:

  • The historical item(s) shown above
  • Glass top leatherette display box
  • Information card and Certificate of Authenticity

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