Classic Mimbres Black-on-white bowl: turkey with staff head

Mogollon -- Mimbres
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General Description

Mogollon populations domesticated turkeys from around 600 CE, keeping them primarily for their feathers. The painter of this bowl illustrates a turkey with abstracted staff head, expanded wings covered with a checker pattern, and a series of lines and fretwork on the body.

According to certain accounts among populations of the US Southwest, people emerged into the current world through an opening (sipapupuni) in the earth. People and animals escaped the floods that were destroying the previous world by climbing a tree into the world above. The turkey was the last to emerge since they are slow and earthbound. The tips of the bird’s tail feathers were turned white by the foam of rising flood waters.

Adapted from

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit, Label text, 2018.