A beautiful Acoma canteen, about 5" in diameter, with stylized parrot design. You can see the hand coiling and hand burnishing on this piece when looking at it from certain angles. The piece is unsigned, and the age unknown although we know that it is at least from the 1970s but could be older. (Acoma artists began signing their pieces in the 1950s, but even then many did not sign.)
About the parrot: According to Acoma origin stories, when the world was created, the creator's daughter, Iatiku, instructed the tribe to search for a place called Ha'aka (present day Sky City). She gave them two eggs, one a dull color and the other bright blue, telling them one was a parrot, and the other a crow. They should break open the parrot egg, she said, when they reached Ha'aka. After generations of traveling, the Acoma found Ha'aka. Assuming the blue egg contained parrots, the majority of the tribe chose to remain at Ha'aka and cracked open the egg. Imagine their surprise when crows flew out. The remainder of the group took the dull egg and traveled south--some say to Mexico--and settled. To this day, parrots remain an elusive but important symbol to Acoma people. They paint parrots on their pottery to remember the day they lost the parrot egg.
The Acoma associate brightly-colored parrots with rainbows, and thus with rain. Some also see parrots as spirit messengers who bring sun and rain to the dry Pueblo. Dancers use parrot feathers on their outfits during ceremonies, especially those requesting rain and healthy crops. It makes sense, then, that artists would also paint parrots on water jars.
The pot has some smudging along the neck and sides, as well as the bottom. Otherwise, it is in very good vintage condition, with no cracks or chips.
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