Acoma/Laguna Historic baby bird

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Acoma/Laguna Historic baby bird

0.01

Rare pottery bird

circa 4.3 long x 3.9 high

circa 1870-1880

excellent condition with little wear for what is expected of its age

collected by James Stevenson for the Bureau of Ethnology, circa 1880s

ex: Stevenson for the Bureau of Ethnology; Sotheby's; Marcy Burns American Indian Arts; Private Collection

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(mc1950)

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James Stevenson and his wife, Matilda Coxe Stevenson, collected Pueblo pottery for the Bureau of Ethnology beginning in 1879. His detailed archives, complete with drawings of each piece collected and collection numbers, are housed at the Smithsonian and provide scholars with information about Historic Pueblo pottery. This bird figure was one of the items that Stevenson collected.

Dwight Lanmon and Francis Harlow write about this little bird figure in their comprehensive analysis of Acoma pottery (The Pottery of Acoma Pueblo (New Mexico University Press, 2013), pp 215-216, fig 19.6. They comment that it is unknown why animal figures were made or what function they may have served. They note that the decorations seem to be generic without an effort to identify specific species. Specifically, about this figure, they write: "The form of the tiny figure shown in figure 19.6 and its perky countenance suggest that it may represent a baby bird. Like several bird figures shown in this chapter, it has protruding eyes. The survival without damage of the exceptionally fragile, tiny upturned beak is remarkable. The paste used in producing this figure is reddish in color".