Pueblo Tribes

Water Jar Boy

A young girl lived with her father and mother in a very old village near a place where the waters come together. The girl was very beautiful, kind, and good of heart. When she became of age many boys of the village tried to win her eye. But, she was very shy and did not pay attention to any of the boys of the village. She did not want to leave her father and mother since they were quite old and needed her help.

The girl liked to help her mother make pottery, especially the water jars, which her mother made so well. One day her mother asked her to help mix the pottery clay. She went to a spring near the village to get a special colored clay to decorate the pottery. While she was mixing the clay with her feet near the spring, she began to feel very strange in her stomach. The more she mixed the clay, the more clay covered her feet, and the stranger she felt. She stopped mixing the clay and went home. She told her mother how she felt mixing the clay, but her mother thought nothing of it and told her not to worry.

A few days passed, and she started to feel something moving in her belly. She did not want to tell her mother and father. But soon she became very ill, and when her mother felt her belly she knew that her daughter was with child. When the child was born she saw that it was not like any other child. It was a beautiful little water Jar. Her father came in, and upon seeing the beautiful little jar said, "It is a special gift, and although we do not know how this has happened we must accept it." The girl's father became very fond of the little waterjar, and when it began to move and grow he became happy. The water jar grew very fast, and in a few days it was able to talk and roll itself around following him inside the house. One day, the little waterjar asked the grandfather to take it outside so that it could play with the other children. The grandfather was surprised at the little water jar I s request, but he took it out, and soon the little jar was rolling around to the delight of the children in the village. The children became very fond of the little waterjar and would wait each day for the grandfather to bring it out to play. The children named the little jar, Water Jar Boy.

One day the young men of the village were gathering to go rabbit hunting. Water Jar Boy announced, "Grandfather, I want to go hunting with the rest of the boys please take me to where the rabbits are so I can hunt too." The grandfather was shocked at the request and told Water Jar Boy, "How can you hunt, you have no arms or legs; besides hunting is for real boys!" Water Jar Boy replied, "But Grandfather, I am a real boy! " Grandfather decided to take Water Jar Boy to where the rabbits were' and as they were leaving his mother began to cry fearing that Water Jar Boy would be hurt. Water Jar Boy told his mother not to worry; he would return with many rabbits!

Grandfather placed Water Jar Boy near a mesa where he knew many rabbits lived and told Water Jar Boy that he would return to pick him up before sunset. Grandfather then joined the other older men as they set out to gather the rabbits together. Water Jar Boy began to roll around as he saw rabbits pass by. As he was rolling he hit a large stone and broke. Out of the broken jar jumped a very handsome boy. The boy picked up a stick and ran after the rabbits killing some of them and letting others go. As the sun began to set he walked toward the mesa carrying many rabbits on his back to meet his grandfather. As he approached, his grandfather did not recognize him. His grandfather asked, "Have you seen a water jar rolling around?" Water Jar Boy laughed and said, "Grandfather, it is me Water Jar Boy, your grandson! " Grandfather looked in disbelief as Water Jar Boy told how, when rolling around he hit a stone, broke his clay skin, and came out of the jar. I told you I was a real boy!

When they came home, grandfather announced to his daughter and the grandmother, "This is my grandson, this is Water Jar Boy! " Then they told the story of how Water Jar Boy had jumped out of the broken waterjar and how he had killed many rabbits. Everyone was happy, and they invited all their relatives for a special feast to meet the new Water Jar Boy. From then on Water Jar Boy stayed with the young men and participated in the life of the community.

As time went on, Water Jar Boy became curious about who his father was. One day he asked his mother, "Who is my father, where does he live?" She began crying and said that she did not know, and she could not tell him where he could go to find him. But, somehow, Water Jar Boy knew the answer to his own question. He announced to his mother, I know where my father is, and tomorrow I will go and find him!" The next day he set out toward the west and walked for a long time. He saw a marsh and knew that there was a spring there. As he neared the spring he saw a man dressed in buckskin sitting on a stone. The man asked, "Where are you going? "Water Jar Boy replied, I am going inside that spring there to find my father." "Who is your father?" asked the man. Water Jar Boy paused and looked at the man closely and then said, I think that it is you that is my Father." To which the man replied, "Yes, I am your father, and I am happy that you have finally come to see me. I came from the inside of that spring; that is my home." Water Jar Boy's father took him inside the spring. There Water Jar Boy met all his relatives. Water Jar Boy stayed in the spring and lives there to this day.

Source: http://www.hyperformer.com/NativeArt/Circles/myth2.html
2019.9.8 - orange pot w tapered mouth (large).jpg

Orange pot with tapered mouth

Taos/San Ildenfonso Pueblo


Pot with rounded base

Mata Ortiz Pueblo

Pueblo: Style and Form

The styles and forms that Pueblo pottery can take are as varied as the tribes present in the collection. Each artist utilizes techniques and traditions from tribal and family history to create their own unique style. Most of the vessels included in this collection demonstrate either red/orange on white created using mineral paints, to design the geometric and traditional designs seen or the blackware technique revived by Maria or Julian Martinez. This technique can be seen in the video on the Cultural Heritage of Southwest Native American Pottery: Storytelling page of this exhibit.

Pueblo Tribes represented in collection: San Juan, Jemez, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso/San Ildefonso Pueblo, Zia/Zia Pueblo, Pojoaque, and Mata Ortiz 

Works Referenced

Khan Academy. (n.d.). Puebloan: Maria Martinez, Black-on-Black Ceramic Vessel. KhanAcademy.org. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/indigenous-americas-apah/north-america-apah/a/puebloan-maria-martinez-black-on-black-ceramic-vessel

Native Knowledge: Circles of Life. (n.d.). Water Jar Boy. Related Myths About Circles of Life. http://www.hyperformer.com/NativeArt/Circles/myth2.html

Tibbel, D. (1990). Nampeyo and the Sikyatki Revival: Creating a Legend with Hopi Ceramics. The University of British Columbia. https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/831/items/1.0086877