Patricio, Robert – Large Four Color Jar with Birds & Rainbirds
This is a very fully designed water jar by Robert Patricio. He 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 bee-weed (black) and clay slips. 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. The jar has a combination of classic Acoma images. There are four birds, each polished red and surrounded by a “frame” of orange clay slip. Separating them are diamond-shaped medallions the are framed with plant designs. Above the birds are cloud patterns and swirling Rainbirds. The thin lines represent the rain. Robert recently said to me of his pottery:
“The pottery inspires me to keep going. Keeping the tradition alive in making pottery, that’s how we were brought up. Our ancestors started making pottery. It’s amazing what comes of a piece of clay. When you come to Acoma it’s peacuful and quite. When you look a piece of pottery, you see the same peacefulness”. Robert Patricio, 2020
The result of all the various shapes, designs and thin lines on this jar is a dynamic appearance as it is turned. It has a balance of both the modern and this ancient. 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”. The last photo is one I took of him painting his pottery at his family home at Acoma Pueblo.