There’s more to the Gardiner than our collections. Take a clay class, learn about the art of ceramics with world-renowned guest speakers, or join us for one of our many special events.
The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay.
Through the display of its permanent collections and special exhibitions, as well as through studio education, programs that engage diverse communities, and major contributions to scholarship, the Gardiner champions ceramics.
Support from the community is vital to the Gardiner’s ability to continue to provide
Executive Chef Bianca Azupardo presents inspired seasonal menus that showcase locally-sourced ingredients, complemented by stunning views of the city.
Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment closes January 19! Journey back in time to the kitchen gardens of Versailles and the intimate dining room of an amorous couple. Feast your eyes on porcelain peas, glass macarons, knitted cheese, and more fun surprises before they're gone.
Our popular March Break Camps give kids the opportunity to explore their creativity through clay, meet new friends, and learn hands-on skills under the guidance of a professional artist. Spots are filling up quickly. Register now!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Support the Gardiner's mission to champion clay, build community, and promote arts education. All of our memberships include a full year of free admission to the Museum, as well as discounts at CLAY Restaurant and the Gardiner Shop, and start and at just $30!
Who says ceramics can’t be spooky? From an ancient god wearing the skin of his victim to a porcelain goblin, these objects from our galleries are sure to serve up a scare. Pay them a visit to get some eerie inspiration this Halloween!
Monkey Skull Vessel. Guatemala, Highlands, AD 600 – 750. Earthenware. Gift of George and Helen Gardiner. G83.1.119
This skull was a chocolate-drinking vessel, often used by the elite to express the divine and worldly power of Maya rulers. This particular vessel may portray either a sacred ancestor or the mythical Hun Hunahpu, who was said to have been tricked by demonic lords of the Underworld, beheaded, and transformed into a calabash (or gourd).
Pilloried Harlequin. Netherlands, De Matelen Pot Workshop, c. 1691 – 1721. Red earthenware. Purchased with funds raised by the Twelve Trees of Christmas Gala. G97.8.1
This pilloried harlequin looks like he’s seen better days. The main purpose of putting criminals in the pillory was to publicly humiliate them, but those who gathered to participate in public mockeries would often bring mud, rotten food, and even dead animals to throw at the offender—injuries and even deaths would often occur if crowds became violent.
Head of Xipe Totec, Aztec style (but possibly made in Veracruz), Mexico. Late Postclassic period, AD 1428 – 1521. Earthenware. Gift of George and Helen Gardiner. G83.1.0073
This unnerving sculpture represents the head of Xipe Totec, a Mesoamerican god associated with the shedding of death and the coming of new life. Known as “The Flayed One,” Xipe Totec flayed himself to give food to humanity and is commonly portrayed wearing the skin of a sacrificed person over his own. Remind you of any scary movies? This inspired an ancient ceremony called Tlacaxipehualiztli, which involved the flaying of war prisoners by priests, who would wear the victim’s skins in honour of the revered god.
Goblin Orchid, 2010. Shary Boyle, Canadian. Porcelain. Gift of the artist. G10.6.1
Check out the menacing teeth on this goblin! An artist whose work considers the social history of ceramic figurines, animist mythologies and folk art forms, Shary Boyle said in a recent interview, “My work has often been described as dark or creepy or grotesque or frightening or unsettling.”
Bat Effigy Vessel. Tairona culture, Columbia. AD 1000 – 1500. Earthenware. Gift of George and Helen Gardiner. G83.1.0174
Though they’re often associated with blood-sucking vampires this time of year, only three of over 1,300 species of bats feed primarily on blood. This Tairona ritual vessel features an anthropomorphic bat, which was believed to be a spirit animal into which shamans could transform themselves. This combined human and bat figure probably represents a shaman in his spiritual form.
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7