Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Look for patterns and shapes that repeat on this jar. What words would you use to describe these patterns and shapes?

  • Similar to music and dance moves, works of art can have visual rhythm. What does it mean for a work of art to have rhythm? Does this jar have rhythm?

  • Ceramics like this storage jar offer archaeologists and ethnographers tools for researching ancient civilizations. Because pottery is made of durable, weather-resistant clay, it is more capable of withstanding time and natural elements than artwork made of wood, canvas, or other materials. What objects are made of long-lasting or durable materials today, and what might they tell archaeologists in the future who are studying our civilization?

  • How do you think this object would have been used?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Patterns abound in works of art throughout the DMA collections. Compare the patterns on Storage Jar to the patterns seen on the following artworks:
    Cape (linaga)
    (1991.24) _from the Ndebele peoples of South Africa
    Elephant mask and hat_ (1991.54.1-2) from the Bamileke peoples of Cameroon_
    Ceremonial hanging (palepai)_ (1983.79) from Indonesia

  • Similar to music and dance moves, works of art can have visual rhythm. What does it mean for a work of art to have rhythm? Does this jar have rhythm? Justify your response with things you see and a sketch of where you see rhythm.

  • Vessels of various kinds have been important to cultures around the world and across time. This jar, for instance, is decorated with traditional Anasazi patterns passed from generation to generation. Create a clay vessel decorated with motifs and patterns important to you or to the culture you come from. As you do so, consider the role pottery has played in cultures around the world. Also consider what function your vessel will serve and how you can best design it for its purpose.

  • The artist who made this jar applied two-dimensional patterns to the surface of a three-dimensional form. Imagine that you have two vessel forms to decorate. One form is angular and one form is rounded. Draw several patterns to decorate each form, keeping the vessel’s shape in mind as you do this. Consider and discuss with classmates the relationships between the patterns and the forms. Which patterns seem to best accentuate each form?

  • Words we use to discuss the visual details on this jar, such as pattern and rhythm, are also frequently used when talking about poetry. Consider how poetry and visual art can be similar and how they are different. Then, create a poem whose pattern and rhythm is inspired by the pattern and rhythm on this jar. Consider writing a concrete poem about the jar. Hint: a concrete poem, also sometimes called a shape poem, is one where the graphic arrangement of the poem is closely connected with its meaning and subject.