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Quail Effigy Container

Mexican, Paquimé culture
Quail Effigy Container
slipped and painted earthenware
8.65 x 4.25 inches (21.5 x 10.7 cm)
Gift of Mr. Peter David Joralemon

Decorated with precise designs in black, white, and red, this quail effigy jar is a beautiful example of ceramic art created by potters of the Paquimé or Casas Grandes culture from the northwestern portion of Chihuahua, Mexico. Though a polychrome jar, it has just three areas of red paint: the tip of the bird’s tail and the rings around the eyes and neck. It fits the conventional form of Paquimé bird effigy vessels, with the head extending from one side and the tail from the other. The dotted breast and diamond-shaped eye outline identify the bird as a quail.

The layout of the design follows the widespread Paquimé practice of creating symmetrical patterns within a decorative field outlined at the top and bottom with black lines. Additionally, many of the painted designs seen on this piece are commonly found on Paquimé-culture painted wares, including the triangles repeated in opposition, separated by a line from the top to the bottom of the jar on each side, and the hook with a rounded end, resembling the letter p, within each solid black triangle. The hook, either rounded or squared, is a common element on Southwest ceramics.