Aug 18, 2005
Aug 18, 2005

Water Jar (Olla)

Water Jar (Olla)


Ceramic, slip

Overall: 26.5 x 37.5 cm (10 7/16 x 14 3/4 in.)

Gift of the Smithsonian Institution 1923.1082


The underside of this Zuni (A:shiwi) jar (olla), made by a woman to collect and store water in the 1800s, curves upward to allow the jar to be carried atop the head. Today, this traditional skill is celebrated by the Zuni Olla Maidens, a nationally known dance group that performs while balancing ollas on their heads. Ollas naturally keep water cool via evaporation through their porous walls, a valuable trait in the desert Southwest. Many Zuni say that water from an olla tastes better than water from a tap.

See also
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 
Ceramic, slip

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