Synopses & Reviews
Despite at times being dismissed as tourist "kitsch, " Tesuque's popular rain god figurines have been continuously produced for more than 120 years, making them the longest-lasting figurative art tradition in the Southwest. What began in the 1880s as souvenirs, emerged decades later as an innovative traditional art form. Featuring more than 400 figures from 74 museums, this book traces the history of rain god makers past and present. Author Duane Anderson, director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (Museum of New Mexico) and an anthropologist, discusses how the figures emerged from the shadow of tourist art, to be recognized as traditional art and sought after by collectors and museums, dozens of which are reproduced here.
Clay figures were part of Pueblo ceremonial life before the Spanish Conquest, and rain gods reflect design motifs long seen in polychrome pottery of the Rio Grande -- just two of the many dimensions explored in this book.