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Pueblo of Acoma, Water or storage Jar (Olla)

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RTCFA No. NA 0768
Pueblo of Acoma, Water or storage Jar (Olla)
Clay and mineral paint, H: 12.5 in., D; 6.12 in. (H: 31.75 cm, D: 15.5 cm).


Description: Large storage jars were once common and necessary items in every Acoma home. Families would have several such jars to store clothing, food and water. The potter carefully chose the symbolism of parrots, feathers, rain, and green plant growth in order that the jar, once finished, serves simultaneously as a depiction of beauty and abundance and a mapping of the Acoma universe. Tribal arts are distinguished by the melding of beauty and function. The artistic choices of materials, manufacturing techniques, and shape are all dictated by cultural practices, what we call “tradition.” For Acoma potters and people to make this storage pot functional it must include designs that are derived from the landscape and universe of the items it will hold. In this way the pot is sympathetic and empathetic to the foodstuffs and water it might hold, serving as prayer for continuance of the nurture, growth, and water.