Earthiness
Martha Arquero
Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico

[Earthiness]

The earthiness of Indian nativities is even more pronounced in this scene of grey, black and brown color schemes. Martha Arquero, a Cochiti Pueblo artist, underlines this proximity and familiarity with the earth by adding gifts of corn and fruit to the set. The need to be close to the earth is compensated by the sign of the butterfly on the baby's cradle. It is a symbol of everlasting life.

Pilgrim's Rest
Dorothy Gutierrez
Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico

[Pilgrim's Rest]

Dorothy Gutierrez of Santa Clara Pueblo has been in the trade of making nativity sets for a long time. She is noted for combining buff and polish. Most of her figures show tunics of unpolished light brown buff, whereas veils and mantels are richly contrasted with polished dark brown slip. The wise men bear corn ear, jar and wedding vase, and the little horses seem to be part of the unicorn family. The Infant Jesus is placed on a cradleboard, probably a reminder of Dorothy's Navajo descent. It is not a cradle that invites lullabies. It is typical of people frequently on the move and the practical need to carry babies as comfortably as possible. And so the cradleboard becomes the pilgrim's first resting place.

Jar and Tiles
Josè Tomas Esparza
Mexico

[Jar and Tiles]

The Pueblo nativities are surrounded by a painted jar and two flat painted tile nativities crafted by Josè Tomas Esparza, Mexican artist. The central scene of each nativity is situated in a luxuriant but stylized Eden filled with peacocks, butterflies, deer and watchful lions. The awkwardly drawn figures of the holy persons strangely contrast with the sophisticated ornamental elements, namely symbols of plenty and eternal bliss. The reddish-blue hues of the finely painted decor blend in handsomely with the rich brown color of the terra-cotta. The vertical tile mural is especially impressive. Eight formidable lion heads are emerging from the tiles in bas relief fashion. The artistic affinity between these two-dimensional representations of Christmas from Mexico picturing Nahual figures, and the many Pueblo nativity sets is obvious. In both cases the human figure (as well as that of animals) is treated with extreme economy whereas great artistic attention is given to decorative elements.

 

Jar and Tiles
Josè Tomas Esparza
Mexico

[Jar and Tiles]

See text of 34.

Jar and Tiles
Josè Tomas Esparza
Mexico

[Jar and Tiles]

See text of 34.

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Kris Sommers , was last modified Thursday, 04/12/2007 13:44:23 EDT by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.