Pueblo pottery—more than a pot to cook in
ANN ARBOR—By definition Pueblo can be a group of houses or a village or an adobe structure of the Southwestern Native Americans. But Pueblo has generally come to mean a village of the Pueblo Indians, the people or their culture.
Visitors to the Web can venture into various Pueblos exploring the life and history there as well as the pottery dating from circa A.D. 100 to the present by accessing the University of Michigan Internet Public Library‘s “Pueblo Pottery” exhibit at http://www.ipl.org/exhibit/pottery/.
Early Spaniards saw Pueblo pottery as satisfactory for carrying out daily chores, but saw no artistic or aesthetic merit in it. The Spanish influence in the Pueblos halted the ancient custom of burying pottery with the dead, so few historic vessels have been preserved in the relative security of old graves. Forced to concentrate on making pottery only for utilitarian purposes such as storing grain and water and cooking, the Pueblo Indians did secretly create a few pieces for ceremonial use.
“Pueblo Pottery” offers various ways to browse the collection. Browsing by Pueblo is one option which offers the collection arranged by date within each Pueblo. Clicking on any small picture will then bring up a large picture of the pot with a general description of the unique characteristics of each Pueblo’s pottery accompanying each section. Visitors can also browse thumbnails of the entire collection of 60 images, representing all Pueblos.
The exhibit offers the Gallery with its collection of pottery, the Classroom where visitors can learn about Pueblos, Pueblo life and history and the geographical location of Pueblos. A glossary is also provided.
The Internet Public Library (IPL) is partially supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and began as a graduate student project in 1995. It is now staffed by professional librarians with assistance from students and volunteer librarians from around the Internet. The library maintains a collection of network-based ready reference works, responds to reference queries, creates resources for children and young adults, evaluates and categorizes resources on the Internet, and provides space for exhibitions. The IPL can be accessed at http://www.ipl.org.