The Stanley Museum of Art has an international collection of ceramic artworks representing techniques and materials from around the world and spanning millennia. Highlights of the collection include terra cotta figures from the Inland Niger Delta made between the mid-13th and early 16th centuries; Zulu- and Bamana-style beer and water pots; figural objects from ancient West Mexico; hundreds of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ceramic works created between the Neolithic period and the late 20th century; a small but notable collection of Near Eastern ceramics, including rhytons created by the Amlash people of Northern Iran from the ninth and eighth centuries BCE as well as Persian ceramics. The collection also has strengths in modern and contemporary ceramics with iconic works by Jun Kaneko, Toshiko Takaezu, Peter Voulkos, Robert Arneson, Ruth Duckworth, Simone Leigh, Gertrud Natzler, and Viola Frey, among others.

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Collection Highlights

Small cylindrical cup painted with a black and white pattern resembling zebra stripes.

Untitled (cup)

Ruth Duckworth
Ceramic head of bald man with white beard. There is a brick slamming into the side of his head. The brick has the word “Arneson” carved into it.

Brick Bang

Robert Arneson
Seated figure with snakes wrapped around shoulders, head, and arms.

Figure covered with snakes

Djenné-jeno style
Abstract, vaguely bottle shaped sculpture with asymmetrical stacks of clay, and cracks and fissures that make visible the process of sculpting and firing.


Peter Voulkos
Shiny black vase that is narrower at the top than bottom, and has curves that create three rounded sections.

Untitled (vase)

Gertrud Natzler