Acoma parrot pot

Object of the Month: 08/2006

What is it?:

Acoma parrot pot


Acoma Pueblo, N.M.

Age: c. 1880 - 1928
Made by:

signed K. Juwateaya

Where was it collected:

Acoma Pueblo, N.M., Donated by Mrs. A.W. Trenholm of St. Paul in 1928

What is it made of?:

Ceramic, pigment, glaze

Accession #: SMM permanent collection, 1-128

Parrot pot
Parrot pot

Painted parrot pots carried pueblo water

A woman from the Acoma Pueblo of New Mexico made this olla, or water jar, to carry water from the well back to her home. Historically, Puebloan women carried ollas such as this balanced atop their heads.

The thick-billed parrot on this pot is a symbol unique to Acoma pottery. The Acoma people associate brightly-colored parrots with rainbows, and thus with rain. Some also see parrots as spirit messengers who bring sun and rain to the dry Pueblo. Dancers use parrot feathers on their outfits during ceremonies, especially those requesting rain and healthy crops. It makes sense, then, that artists would also paint parrots on water jars.