• Neil Allen

Fr Roten Blog #32: Pueblo

Making a Difference Diana Wade Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico

Influenced by both Jemez and Zuni traditions, Diana Wade, a resident of Isleta Pueblo, creates pieces with extensive hand-painted design. Each of the pieces of this set is made of natural clay. The scene is very Indian in style and ornamental design. The wise men are three chiefs, one in full headdress. The three gifts are a rattle, a canoe, and a drum. Only Baby Jesus makes a difference. He is in jeans and a western shirt, and is lying on a sheepskin rug.

Corn and Rain Mary Toya Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico

These figures by Mary Toya of Jemez Pueblo are a modernized version of the traditional pueblo crèche figures. They are heavy with clay, rudimentary in execution for face and hands, but of exquisite coloring and ornamental design. The two principal ornaments used here are symbols of corn and rain, the lifeline of people threatened by drought and desert.

Adobe Nativity Robert Toledo Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico

The traditional house of Pueblo Indians is the adobe. The adobe is made of clay bricks which are sun-dried, sanded, painted, and fired—a process habitually used by the Pueblo potters to make crèche figures. This set by Jemez artist, Robert Toledo, points to the merging of two cultures: the traditional nativity figures are joined by two rainbow dancers.

Reprinted with permission: University of Dayton - Marian Library Collection. All rights reserved.

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