Patricio, Robert – Four Color Water Jar with Four Parrots
6.5"w x 6.5"h
Robert Patricio is known for his classic forms and use of both traditional and pre-historic imagery. This jar is coil built and thin-walled. It has a classic water jar shape with the high shoulder and the elongated neck. The jar is painted with a classic four large parrots. There is a red and orange parrot on each side. They are perched on cloud designs and separated by plant designs. For a small jar, there is a LOT going on in terms of design and color. So, why are there parrots on Acoma pottery?
“The thick-billed parrot is a symbol unique to Acoma pottery. The Acoma people associate brightly-colored parrots with rainbows, and thus with rain. Some also see parrots as spirit messengers who bring sun and rain to the dry Pueblo. The representational parrot design seen on Acoma pottery such has stayed essentially the same since its inception in the mid-1800s. The bird is often perched on a branch and eating berries. It has a curved beak typical of parrots. Quite often there is a circular or diamond design on the breast of the bird and a D-shaped element at the base of the tail.
Acoma people wear parrot feathers in their hair, and use them to adorn masks, fetishes and prayer sticks. The parrot clan is an important part of Acoma social structure, since they are responsible for gathering salt for the tribe. Their activities all relate in some way to rain – salt comes from dried water beds, salt attracts moisture, and they gather the salt to the south of the pueblo (where parrots originate),
The use of “four colors” (red, orange, black, white) was typical in Acoma pottery in the late 1800s and then died out only to be revived in the early 1970s. Robert has perfectly captured the dynamic importance of the parrot and Acoma water jar on this piece. The open white space further enhances the strength of the painted lines. The jar has both an ancient and very modern appearance. Robert is certainly one of the leading traditional Acoma potters working today which is evidenced by his stunning forms and complementary designs. The jar is signed on the bottom, “R. M. Patricio”.