About this artwork
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, an artistic renewal occurred throughout the Southwest as centuries-old styles and techniques were recast in response to increasing public interest in Native American art and culture. Potters from several pueblos, or towns, developed innovative vessel shapes and designs by adapting and adding to the achievements of their ancestors. The styles and symbolic forms expressed each com-munity’s particular historical identity and sense of place. The interior of this bowl is filled with a large, X-shaped symbol with arms emerging from a crosshatched diamond—a reference to the four sacred directions of the Zuñi world. The red, hooked motifs between the arms represent pahos, prayer sticks with attached feathers that were placed at sacred locations to petition for rain. On the exterior, zigzag lines flanked by red and black triangles signify lightning and rainfall. Many features of this vessel are characteristic of ceramics made by We’wah, one of the most renowned Zuñi artists, who held a special status within his community as one of their lhamanas. These highly respected individuals typically were born male but followed traditional female gender roles, including pottery making and weaving, and served as mediators with special ceremonial and spiritual responsibilities.
- Polychrome Bowl
- Zuni Pueblo
- Ceramic and pigment
- 16.5 × 42 cm (6 1/2 × 16 1/2 in.)
- Gift of Charles and Marjorie Benton