Tortuga Pot by Mata Ortiz Artist Lourdes Lopez
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This charming tortuga (desert tortoise) pot with red and black paint by Lourdes Lopez was inspired by traditional Paquime geometric designs and shows a meticulously executed pattern of cuadritos (small squares) on the back of the turtle.
Maria de Lourdes Lopez de Corona learned to pot from her grandmother Jesus Maria Sandoval and her mother Velia Mora de Lopez. Lourdes work is characterized by Mimbres motifs, animal forms, meticulously executed details and multi-colored patterns accented with white paint. She makes her own clay, polishes, sands, paints and fires her pots. The artist's signature is incised on the bottom of the pot. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity.
Dimensions: Height 3 inches, Width 7 inches, Opening (at the bottom) 1-3/8 inches.
The history of Mata Ortiz, both the village and the pottery, can be traced through the archaeological remains of nearby Casas Grandes (Spanish for Great Houses; also known as Paquime). This is the contemporary name given to a Pre-Columbian city-state located in northwestern Mexico in the modern-day Mexican state of Chihuahua.
This is where Juan Quezada, guided only by his intuition recreated an ancient ceramic technology as he studied the ancient pots and shards he found as he roamed the desert in his youth. His painstaking efforts with rough, primitive techniques produced astonishingly perfect, incredibly beautiful and sophisticated works of art. His commercial success inspired relatives and neighbours to produce the now famous Mata Ortiz pottery that allowed them to sustain themselves and improve the whole region's economy.
Mata Ortiz pots are hand built starting with large coils of clay without the use of a potter's wheel. Shaping, polishing and painting the clay is entirely done by hand, often with brushes made from children's hair. The clay and natural pigments used to paint the pots are readily available locally and cow dung or split cottonwood is used as fuel for the firing pits.
Each potter or pottery family produces distinctive individualized ware and over the last thirty or so years, the complex design concepts have evolved to include not only traditional Pre-Columbian Paquime and Mimbres designs but also vibrant, contemporary ones with incredible geometric patterns.