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Seed Jar with Painted Motifs

Artist Culture
Ancestral Puebloan
Ceramic with pigment
Associated with
northeast Arizona, Southwest, United States, North and Central America
Ceramics, containers
Current Location
On View, Gallery 113
10 1/2 × 14 1/2 in. (26.7 × 36.8 cm)
Credit Line
Funds given by the Children's Art Festival
Public Domain
Object Number
This elegant jar was made by the Ancestral Puebloan peoples of the American Southwest, who used such vessels to store seeds for planting. Working with very fine brushes made of yucca plant fibers, an artist painted the jar with complex geometric designs that include two bands of interlocking frets, composed of tiny white squares with dots at the centers, separated by white lightning patterns. The square shapes may represent kernels of corn, and the lightning motifs may symbolize thunder and rain, all references to the agricultural cycle. Given the dry climate of the American Southwest, the user of this jar may have been reassured of the ongoing cycle of fertility by the symbols on the jar.
- 1981
C. Frank Turley Jr., Mesa, AZ

1981 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from C. Frank Turley Jr. [1]

[1] An invoice dated May 3, 1981 from C. Frank Turley Jr. to the Saint Louis Art Museum documents this purchase, listed as "Pre-historic Snowflake holla [sic, olla], with negative lightning design. More commonly described as a 'Seed Bowl'" [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, June 10, 1981.
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