This three-color Acoma polychrome olla (water jar) features cream slip with black and orange painted decoration. The all-over-designed water jar consists of black framing lines at the mouth and above the orange base. The body decoration is outlined with black-filled doubled triangles that may represent rain symbolism, such as rain clouds at the top, and mountains at the bottom. The center decoration is a red split square, possibly a pathway symbol, surrounded by attached hachured (crosshatched) triangles that can symbolize rain and connected black-filled squares. Above and below the embellished orange center are stylized bird forms. The center decoration continues around the body of the jar.
The stylized bird forms, in which their outward-facing beaks evolve into spiraling forms, are traditional bird motifs prominent in 18th-century Ako polychrome pottery. Today, it is common to find bird designs that follow the arrangement of parrots, which are typically depicted in profile with a curved break alongside separated bird feathers.
[Trinity Antiques, Santa Fe, NM];
Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, New York, NY, 1994-2019 (1994.02.1);
Santa Fe. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery (July 30, 2022-May 29, 2023); New York. Vilcek Foundation and Metropolitan Museum of Art (July 13, 2023-June 2, 2024); Houston. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (October 27, 2024-January 19, 2025); St. Louis. St. Louis Art Museum (March 9-June 1, 2025).