From the Jacket:
The Dillingham Collection of Mojave pottery is unique. Gathered over many years by artist Rick Dillingham and bequeathed to the School of American Research in 1994, it is one of the largest and most complete Mojave assemblages in the world. In Mojave Pottery Mojave People, Jill Leslie Furst brings to light the wondrously inventive clay people, mythological creatures, and effigy vessels of the Mojave Indians and records the rich heritage of this vanishing Southwest Indian ceramic art. These pages showcase an exuberant proliferation of styles and forms: inventively decorated male and female figurines, frogs, fish, and owls, vessels with multiple spouts and handles, rims decorated with effigy heads, and heads adorned with beaded necklaces and earrings.
Mojave creation stories tell of the ancient First Times, when the creator Mastamho made, named, and designated the proper function of all important living beings, inanimate things, ceremonies and geographical features. Among his many gifts to the Mojave people, who made their home along the Colorado River in what is now California and Arizona, were ceramic cooking vessels. Yet despite the centrality of ceramics to their culture, Mojave pottery is virtually unknown today and has received little attention from scholars and collectors.
We may never know the full history of Mojave ceramic forms, because almost no early cultural materials, ceramic or otherwise, have survived. In accordance with the Mojave funerary custom, a person's private property was burned during the cremation of the body. Likewise, no baseline ethnography of the Mojave people exists. Furst therefore takes an ethnohistorical approach, drawing on written literature about the tribe that ranges from seventeenth-century Spanish documents to ethnographic accounts from the 1970s. The Great Stories of the Mojaves, along with descriptions of family life, gender roles, subsistence activities, clothing and personal adornment, shamanism, and the afterlife, form the context for Furst's fascinating exploration of the Mojave tradition.