Overall: 11.6 x 27.4 cm (4 9/16 x 10 13/16 in.)
Charles W. Harkness Endowment Fund 1930.48
Find spot: Cameron Creek Village, Grant County, New Mexico
Composing on a round surface challenges artists to use space without simply repeating circular motifs.
The Mogollon people of New Mexico's Mimbres region produced thousands of bowls painted with black-and-white designs on their interiors. The designs range from geometric motifs to abstract humans and animals, like the pronghorn antelopes shown here. Meaning may have dwelled in part in the domed shape of the bowls, which often were ritually punctured before they were inverted over the heads of the deceased. Perhaps, like modern Pueblo peoples, the Mimbres believed that the sky was a dome pierced to allow for passage between worlds, from the realm of the living to the dead.
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