Classic Mimbres Black-on-white bowl: bighorn sheep

CULTURE:
Mogollon -- Mimbres
DATE:
1000–1130
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General Description

Mimbres potters developed one of the Southwest’s most appealing painting styles, distinguished by geometric compositions and narrative imagery that provides an eloquent record of Mimbres life. The painting on many Mimbres vessels suggests concepts of sacred space or cosmic geography. The edge of the bowl may have marked the boundary of an orderly world, while the center space, often empty and white, may refer to the Earth Center. Here a mirror image of a bighorn sheep covered with a checker pattern, surrounded by a series of spiraled stepped frets, emanates from that center. The jagged, angular forms convey the dynamic tension of lightning in a darkened sky.

Adapted from

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Bowl with geometric design (1982.94)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 55.

  • DMA Label Copy (1982.94), 1993.