Turtles are revered by Pueblo people because they exist around water – a precious commodity in the desert – and are also symbols of long life.
This decorative turtle is beautifully formed, as always, and painted with a handsome, graphic design.
The divided design suggests the segments of a real turtle’s shell.
Decorative fish swim in between divisions that sport plant designs.
Notice that these leaves are graduated, to emphasize the dome of the turtle’s shell.
The four areas also symbolize the four geographic directions.
The blessing of sufficient water and food is meant to extend to all four corners of the earth.
Like all her work, this piece is impeccably made, entirely by hand, as is traditional, of local, hand gathered, mixed and formed clay.
The black is derived from steeping wild spinach plants; the reddish accents are natural clay slip, and the white is natural clay.
Her painting is equally meticulous and defined.
Mary Janice’s turtles are snapped up ( no pun meant, honest), so don’t tarry to add this beauty to your collection, whether of turtles, Pueblo pottery figures, or Ortiz pieces.