Black-and-White Storage Jar with Abstract Geometric Motifs

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

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  • A work made of ceramic (earthenware) and pigment.

Date:

1890s

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 olla is shaped with a truncated neck that slopes in a gentle curve to the high, rounded shoulder; the full, swelling body tapers smoothly down to the rounded bottom. A finely painted pattern of black-and white abstract designs covers the surface. The dominant decorative features are three medallions, each rimmed by black petals. Within each medallion, and divided by a central vertical strip adorned with zigzag triangles, are twin semicircular, double-ended bands filled with fine hatch marks; these, in turn, enclose inner designs of curving, triangular elements. The medallions themselves are separated by diamonds that frame hatched checkerboards, while complex triangular elements step down from the rim and up from the red-painted bottom. The austere color and multiple abstract motifs stem from past centuries of Anasazi (Ancestral Pueblo) ceramic styles. As is often seen in early works, the artist presents playful visual ambiguities between positive and negative space.
— 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

Black-and-White Storage Jar with Abstract Geometric Motifs

Origin

New Mexico

Date

1890–1899

Medium

Ceramic (earthenware) and pigment

Dimensions

46.4 × 48.9 cm (18 1/4 × 19 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Robert Allerton Fund; Gladys N. Anderson Endowment; Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund

Reference Number

2006.750

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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