Ethel Shields, of the Yellow Corn Clan, is from a well-known family in Acoma Pueblo. She is the sister of the prolific Marie S. Juanico, and also related to award-winning potters Delores Aragon, Marilyn Lewis Ray, Carolyn Concho, and Judy Lewis, and the mother of eight children, including award-winner Charmae Natseway.
Ethel is most famous for her Nativity sets, and she began making traditional pottery as a pre-teen, around 1938. She learned from her mother Dolores S. Sanchez. Showing her versatility as a storyteller and potter, she was known to make traditional polychrome and Mimbres Revival jars, bowls, effigy pots, effigy canteens, Storytellers, Nativities, figures, Christmas ornaments, and even miniatures!
This amazing effigy piece includes a handsome three-dimensional sheep at the very top of the round part of the jug, facing the neck.
Sheep was not an important animal in the Pueblo until after the Spanish came when Acoma Puebloans began to raise goats, horses, sheep, and donkeys. This became part of the new way they subsisted and stayed part of the Pueblo afterward.
This jug features a rain theme, and clearly promotes prosperity for both people and livestock in the Pueblo.
It could be that this sheep was placed by the opening so that he may partake in the refreshing water himself!
The clay and vegetal paints used in this beautiful creation are found in nature, hand-gathered, and processed by the artist.
This is a one-of-a-kind piece by an artist from generations ago and coming from a prominent pottery family.
An interesting piece to add to any collection!