Polychrome Jar with Rainbow, Macaw, and Floral Motifs

A work made of ceramic and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of ceramic and pigment.

Date:

1880s

Artist:

Acoma
Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, United States

About this artwork

In the American Southwest, there is an Indian ceramic tradition that began to take form in the early centuries A.D. and has continued unbroken to the present time. Characterized by its many superbly varied styles, the art has been sustained by diverse Pueblo peoples and some of their neighbors, whose ancient and more recent settlements have long been established in the arid regions of Arizona and New Mexico. Ceramic artist of the Ácoma Pueblo, west of Albuquerque, produced an especially distinguished series of vessels during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This large, rounded, and beautifully proportioned vessel is covered by exuberant, colorful figures representing macaws and other birds, double rainbows, flowers, and plants. The fluid, lively pattern breaks from the disciplined, abstract symmetry that widely prevails in Puebloan tradition, possibly reflecting the influence of designs from Mexico or perhaps the printed or embroidered textiles from the eastern United States that reached New Mexico beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. Nevertheless, traditional indigenous perceptions remained in play, for macaws have been featured for centuries in Puebloan rituals devoted to the sun, rain, and agricultural fertility, as shown in corresponding ceramic and mural imagery. In this context the rainbows, flowers, and the sense of thriving life also faithfully adhere to an ancient and ongoing theme of communal participation in nature’s eternal renewal.
— Revised from Richard Townsend, Notable Acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Studies 34, 1 (2008), pp. 8-9.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 136

Artist

Acoma

Title

Polychrome Jar with Rainbow, Macaw, and Floral Motifs

Origin

New Mexico

Date

1880–1889

Medium

Ceramic and pigment

Dimensions

42.6 × 46.7 cm (16 3/4 × 18 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Ethel T. Scarborough and Major Acquisitions funds; Gladys N. Anderson Endowment

Reference Number

2006.749

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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