Figures, figurines and effigies have played a role in Native American pottery for thousands of years. However, the religious laws of some pueblos don't allow for the creation of figures or effigies by their potters. In other pueblos, more figures are made than any other kind of pottery. At Tesuque Pueblo, it was the creation of thousands and thousands of Rain God figures for Anglo traders that virtually ended all pottery making in the pueblo.
Many of the figures produced at Mata Ortiz are influenced by pots made long ago in the Paquimé and Casas Grandes area, many of which show influence from Mogollon sources to the north and from Aztec and Mayan sources to the south.
Yellow ware bird effigy pot decorated with red and black bird element and geometric design, by Jean Sahme, Hopi-Tewa 5.75 in H by 7.25 in Dia
Turtle storyteller with three children, lizard, butterfly and puppy, by
Marilyn Ray Lewis, Acoma 5.5 in H by 6.75 in Dia
Polychrome two-headed tattooed circus performer, by
Mary Janice Ortiz, Cochiti 13 in H by 9 in Dia
Micaceous black Corn Maiden figure, by
Robert Vigil, Nambe 13 in H by 3.5 in Dia
Mud woman with a pot 13.75 in H by 14.75 in L by 12.5 in W, by Roxanne Swentzell, Santa Clara
Polychrome Corn Maiden with tablita, bird, butterfly, lady bug and geometric design, by Judy Lewis, Acoma 4.25 in H by 2 in Dia
A horse figure with 2 children on its back, by Leonard Tsosie, Jemez 7.5 in H by 7.25 in Dia
Black-on-black dinosaur figure decorated with a geometric design, by Marta Gonzalez, Mata Ortiz 4 in H by 8.25 in Dia
A bird element and geometric design on a parrot effigy pot, by Rachel Sahmie, Hopi 6.5 in L by 4 in W by 4.5 in H
Parrot effigy found in ancient ruins near Valdivia, Ecuador Dated to between 4000 and 1500 BCE Photos from Valdivia, Ecuador are in the public domain.
Jaguar effigy found in ancient ruins near Valdivia, Ecuador Dated to between 4000 and 1500 BCE
Note the spiral tail