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Acoma Pueblo Polychrome Olla with Stylized Birds

C3991B-acoma.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Acoma Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 7-¼” height x 10” diameter
  • Item # C3991B
  • Price: $2,550.00

Pottery has always been a central feature of the Pueblo people, both for ceremonial and utilitarian purposes. Everything about the daily lives of the Pueblo people is of a religious nature. They do not look at jars such as this one as an "art object" as we do. To them, it is a utilitarian vessel or in some cases a ceremonial vessel. The fact that it is beautifully decorated is accepted as part of their history and their lives. Pottery is a sacred part of daily life.  It is a gift from Mother Earth to the Pueblo people.

Whether a jar was made for use by the potter in her home or whether it was made for sale to a tourist visiting the Pueblo is of no consequence. What are important to collectors are age, condition and beauty. Also important to Acoma potters is that potsherds of prehistoric or historic or even contemporary pottery are ground up and added to the clay for making a new pot. Every Acoma pot contains some part of an older pot. This provides a continuum to the two thousand year history of Acoma pottery.

The jar has a concave bottom with the painted Acoma, N.M and the initials HR.  In pencil is written $2.00, an indication of a circa 1930s or 1940s creation.This wonderful jar is full of beautiful traditional Acoma Pueblo designs. The potter certainly did not skimp on design when producing this one. The overall theme is birds.  On the lower body are stylized birds with long beaks, eyes and feathers.  The large black design are quite possibly birds, as well. Near the rim are orange triangles, point to point, accompanied by fine-line triangles.  

The jar has a concave bottom with the painted Acoma, N.M and the initials HR.  In pencil is written $2.00, an indication of a circa 1930s or 1940s creation.


Condition: very good condition with expected amount of paint abrasion

Provenance: this Acoma Pueblo Polychrome Olla with Stylized Birds is from the collection of a gentleman from Massachusetts, who provided us with the following: “My aunt Bernice M. King received her Master's degree in music and anthropology at UNM in the late '30s. She created the first written notations for NM Pueblo music and choreography as her Master's thesis, and was well known by many pueblo "notables." Afterward, she worked at the Minneapolis Museum of Art in the '40s and was recruited by Dr. Inverarity as his co-director of the Museum of International Folk Art, and was a confidant of Mrs. Bartlett. While living in Santa Fe, she rented quarters in the small Canyon Road compound owned by a Mrs. Cassidy, whom I am reasonably sure was the widow of the artist Gerald Cassidy. I grew up in Belen, and as a youngster (aged 8-10) I spent several summers in Santa Fe staying with my aunt and accompanied her on many of her visits to the pueblos and assisted her with tape recordings while she drew the dances. To the best of my knowledge, she was the only outsider with the approval of elders to record, photograph or document ceremonials. I don't specifically recall the purchase of any pottery, but do know that she would almost certainly have purchased them directly from the potters.”

Recommended Reading: Acoma & Laguna Pottery by Rick Dillingham

Alternate, close-up view of side panel designs.

  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Acoma Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 7-¼” height x 10” diameter
  • Item # C3991B
  • Price: $2,550.00

C3991B-acoma.jpgC3991B-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.