Fashioned from coarse polychrome on buff, or earth-toned, clay, this bowl likely dates from the viejo (old) to medio (middle) periods, displaying a dot and spiral design popular throughout Casas Grandes ceramics. This motif has been interpreted by scholars and related by Indigenous oral traditions to represent shamanic smokers on spiritual journeys between the physical and supernatural worlds. In the Casas Grandes region, such undertakings were often aided by the ritual consumption of large amounts of tobacco, utilized to implore spiritual aid in the maintenance of cosmological and social order.
The Casas Grandes site in Chihuahua, Mexico, is believed to have been built by the Mogollon culture that also expanded into what is now the southwestern United States, demonstrating that interaction in this area is thousands of years old and also shares close links with the Hohokam along with the site of Casas Grandes in the U.S. state of Arizona.
Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien Collection;
Gift to The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 1995-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2010;