Diameter: 10 x 26.5 cm (3 15/16 x 10 7/16 in.)
Charles W. Harkness Endowment Fund 1930.40
Composing on a round surface challenges artists to use space without simply repeating circular motifs.
The Mogollon of New Mexico's Mimbres region produced thousands of bowls painted with black-and-white designs on their interiors. The designs range from elegant geometric motifs to abstract humans and animals. Meaning may have dwelled in part in the domed shape of the bowls, which often were ritually punctured before they were placed over the heads of the deceased in graves. Perhaps, like modern Pueblo peoples, the Mimbres believed that the sky was a dome pierced to allow for passage between worlds, as from the realm of the living to the dead.
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