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Laguna Pueblo Double Headed Bird Effigy Jar

C3776C-effigy.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Laguna Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 5-1/2” height x 5-1/2” diameter
  • Item # C3776C
  • Price: $5,500.00

It is often difficult to make a determination of origin of Laguna Pueblo pottery because it is so closely similar to that from Acoma, for good reason.  Laguna is, relatively speaking, a recent pueblo, having been established in 1699, although Laguna people say that the pueblo was previously occupied as early as circa 1400, however, the current villages date to 1699.  Residents of Acoma, Zia, Zuni and other pueblos jointly settled the new pueblo.  Because of its close proximity to Acoma, the pottery from Laguna resembles that of its neighbor.  The same clay, same temper, and similar designs predominate between the two pueblos.


In 1879, James Stevenson visited Laguna Pueblo as a representative of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution.  During that year, he collected approximately 100 pottery vessels from homes at Laguna Pueblo.  That collection is documented in the Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution for the years 1880-1881.  The collection made by Stevenson provides a good study sample of pottery from Laguna.  A small group of bird and animal pottery figures was in the collection.


This two-headed bird pottery figure is very similar to one collected by Stevenson in 1879.  The Stevenson one is published in a color plate labeled Figs. 605-609Laguna Pottery of the 2nd BAE Report. It was one of the few figurines collected in the 1879 visit.


This bird vessel features one bird head that is covered and one that is open, as does the one collected by Stevenson.  It could easily be concluded that they were made by the same potter or a member of the same family, and that both date to circa 1875.  The eyes on one bird are protruding and on the other are simply painted circles.  The body design on each side of the bird is the head of a bird curled around from a bulbous body painted red and with a pair of white circles on the body.  The red pigment is that seen often on pre-1900 Acoma and Laguna pottery and which does not appear frequently after the turn of the century.


The similarity of this figurine and the one collected by Stevenson in 1879 is amazingly comparable and a good indication that this figurine dates to circa 1875.  A paper sticker on the base of the figurine reads RAV-011, similar to identification marks seen on museum collection specimens but there is no indication that this actually came from a museum collection.


Condition:  Amazingly this 140-year-old figurine does not show any evidence of repair or restoration when examined by UV light.

Provenance: from a private collection

Reference: Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution for the Years 1880-1881, published in 1883

This two-headed bird pottery figure is very similar to one collected by Stevenson in 1879.  The Stevenson one is published in a color plate labeled Figs. 605-609—Laguna Pottery of the 2nd BAE Report. It was one of the few figurines collected in the 1879 visit.

  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Laguna Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 5-1/2” height x 5-1/2” diameter
  • Item # C3776C
  • Price: $5,500.00

C3776C-effigy.jpgC3776C-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.