Acoma polychrome pitcher collected by Stevenson

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Stevenson 110354 entry.ed1.jpg
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Stevenson 110354 entry.ed1.jpg

Acoma polychrome pitcher collected by Stevenson

0.01

circa 8" diameter x 5 1/2" high

excellent condition

ex: Collected by Col. James Stevenson in 1884 for the  BAE (Bureau of American Ethnology), part of the Smithsonian; Marcy Burns American Indian Arts, 1999; Private Collection

circa 1884 

SOLD

(p0364)

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Col James Stevenson and his wife Matilde Coxe Stevenson were sent to the Southwest on successive expeditions by the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian with the express purpose of collecting as many objects as possible from various Pueblo Indians, including the Acoma. Stevenson and his wife were early anthropologists.

Stevenson kept detailed archives, including drawings of the collected objects. Upon receipt by the Smithsonian, each object was assigned an accession number. This pitcher appears in the BAE's archives as #110354. His drawing of the pitcher is included in this posting. 

The railroads arrived in the Southwest in 1880. They provided a means for anthropologists, museums and collectors to transport pottery. In turn, they brought new forms of containers to the attention of the potters. Because the Stevensons made repeated collecting trips, some potters made pots in forms that they thought the visitors would like. They imitated forms that the visitors brought, including the pitcher. The anthropologists, in turn, encouraged them to make traditional wares. This pitcher, collected in 1884, is clearly an example of the potter's efforts to please the visitors and entice them to buy.

[To read more about the founding of American Anthropology and the importance of the BAE, go to this link: http://anthropology.si.edu/outreach/depthist.html. An excerpt: "In 1879 Congress established the Bureau of American Ethnology (B.A.E.) as a separate, purely research unit of the Smithsonian, independent of the National Museum. The focus of the Bureau's research was on North American Indian cultures, including important works in ethnology, archaeology, and linguistics. The B.A.E. effectively founded American anthropology (especially ethnology and linguistics) at a time when there were no advanced university degrees in the field and there were almost no full-time anthropologists employed anywhere else."