Despite a short history of just over 500 years - or under 250 years, for those who consider the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to mark the nation's birth - the United States has accumulated a rich cultural heritage influenced by both its indigenous peoples and continuous waves of immigration. One of the focla points of the nation's culture is visual art, which encompasses a number of art forms: pottery, textiles, painting sculpture, architecture and many others. Ceramic craft has played an important role in the success of America's worldwide trade, with notable manufacturers an distinct style emerging throughout the years. 1870-1930 marked a significant period for American ceramics, with American art pottery being produced during this time. Rookwood Pottery was one of the leading manufacturers of American art pottery, producing fine pieces inspired by Japanese Art and the Modernist art movement. The varied and unusual shapes of Rookwood Pottery also heavily contributed to the company's success.