Overall: 8 x 18.8 cm (3 1/8 x 7 3/8 in.)
Charles W. Harkness Endowment Fund 1930.47
Find spot: Cameron Creek Village, Grant County, New Mexico
In this ancient Mimbres bowl, a whimsical desert grasshopper combines both realistic and abstract elements
The Mogollon of New Mexico’s Mimbres region created thousands of hemispheric bowls painted with black-and-white designs on their interiors. The designs range from elegant geometric motifs to abstract humans and animals. Meaning may have dwelled in part in the domed shape of the bowls, which often were ritually punctured before they were placed over the heads of the deceased in graves. (This example comes from a non-funerary context.) Perhaps, like the modern Pueblo peoples who descend from them, the Mimbres believed that the sky is a dome pierced to allow passage between worlds, such as between the realms of the living and the dead.
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