Escondida polychrome lidded jar

Casas Grandes
1280/1300 - 1450
more object details

General Description

A Mogollon trading center flourished from about 1150 to 1350 CE in the Casas Grandes Valley. Turquoise, exotic birds, and decorative pottery figured in the extensive trade network of the center. Casas Grandes potters preferred the form of the round‑bottomed jar, its surface highly polished and decorated in black, red, and cream paint. Opposed stepped triangles, checkerboard patterns, and dotted squares are characteristic motifs. Lidded jars are quite rare, yet the convergence of motifs on the top and bottom pieces indicates they were conceived as a unit. Bold curvilinear spirals frame pairs of opposed stepped triangles and rows of dotted squares on the jar. The painting on the interior of the lid depicts three parrot or macaw heads, another prevalent motif in the pottery of Casas Grandes.

Adapted from

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Lidded Jar (1990.96.a-b.FA)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 55.

  • Carol Robbins, "Lidded Jar (1990.96.a-b.FA)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 197.

Fun Facts

This is a unique piece—the two parts fit together and are designed to go together. The lidded bowl was designed for an elite person in Casas Grandes. It possibly functioned as a funeral urn in which bones were placed inside, as the Casas Grandes culture did not cremate bodies.