Transforming TradiTion: PoTTery from maTa orTíz
P o tt e r y f r o m M a t a O r t í z
The Casas Grandes culture (1100-1450 A.D.) specialized in making coiled pots that were
sculpted, fired, and painted in a tedious process that today artists refer to as La Lucha, or
“the Struggle.” Around the time of the Spanish Conquest, the Casas Grandes culture
vanished and the tradition of making these pots (or ollas) was lost for nearly four centuries.
In the 1950s, Juan Quezada, a native of the town of Mata Ortíz, Mexico, discovered ceramic
remnants of the once-popular art form. Inspired, Quezada learned the technique of this
lost tradition and trained interested community members in the craft. Now, over 400
community members are involved in pottery production and the region’s artistic tradition
thrives again, producing some of the world’s finest contemporary ceramics.
In this new exhibition, encounter the work of contemporary artists from Mata Ortíz and share
their stories of discovery and artistic mastery. Over
twenty exquisite, handcrafted
ollas show off intricate geometric designs, decorative painting and
incising, and beguiling animal forms. In addition to modern vessels, visitors
can see ceramic vessels from the 14th- and 15th-century Casas Grandes culture that inspired
the modern-day revival of this complex and delicate artistic tradition.
Contents: 26 pottery vessels, jars, and effigies; electronic
label text and graphics; accompanying PBS
video featuring Juan Quezada at work
Approximately 1,200 ft2 (111.48 m2)
Environment: No direct sunlight in gallery
Rental Fee: $14,500 USD for 3 months, plus shipping
Adults and families
Natural history museums, art museums,
history museums, cultural centers
All text in English; language may be
converted by international host venues
For more information and to request an exhibition prospectus:
Email: [email protected]
Call: (001) 312-665-7325
All images © The Field Museum/John Weinstein.