Small canteen


Aas-Ku-Mana (Gwen Setalla)

late 20th century
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General Description

Around 1300, Ancestral Pueblo ceramicists in northern Arizona began using a highly select clay source and new coal-firing technique to create fine yellow wares. The clay was fired at high temperatures in an oxidizing environment to produce a creamy yellow base color and dense ceramic wall that would nearly ring when tapped. Artisans decorated these yellow wares with geometric and abstract designs executed with contrasting iron-based (iron and manganese oxide) pigments, as visible here. Such fine ceramic vessels were traded across modern-day Arizona.

Jeddito Yellow Ware vessels generally present a select repertoire of geometric and figural motifs, including birds and flowers. Parrots and macaws were actively traded from Mesoamerica into the US Southwest from at least 900 CE. Similar to eagles, these birds were desired for their colorful feathers, which were used in ritual.

Both sides of this miniature canteen feature a representation of a bird (likely an eagle) underneath a cornstalk and surrounded by spattered paint, possibly symbolizing rain. These elements recall ancient Sikyatki Polychrome ceramic vessels, one substyle of Jeddito Yellow Wares.

Adapted from

  • Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit, Gallery text [Yellow Ware Ceramic Vessels], 2018.
  • Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit, Label text, 2018.
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