Duck effigy

Native American (Acoma Pueblo)

Object Place: Acoma, New Mexico, United States


15.87 x 16.51 x 13.33 cm (6 1/4 x 6 1/2 x 5 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware with slip paint and corncob

Not On View





The object is an earthenware vessel in the stylized form of a bird. The body of the bird is created by the horizontal ovoid shaped ceramic body. The neck of the vessel is at one end of the ovoid. The lip of the neck has plastic additions of eyes and a beak. A small handle on the upper surface of the vessel, and a small pointed nodule are plastic additions meant to indicate tail elements. The bird has surface decoration in four colors: white, reddish rust, dark brown, and orange. The upper two-thirds of the effigy has a warm white ground, with traces of orange. The bottom third is a dark reddish rust color. These upper and lower colors are delineated by a dark brown horizontal double stripe around the body of the bird. On the upper white part of the body are designs in dark brown and orange. The dark brown is used for bold stylized designs indicating wings and tail elements, as well as on the raised lip of the neck indicating the head/beak of the bird. The orange is used to tone the ground, and in a flower on the lower back of the bird. Both orange and brown ‘dashes’ are used in a random pattern on the breast of the bird to indicate feathers. The bird’s eyes are white with dark brown pupils. A corn cob stopper is in the neck of the vessel.


Collected in the 1870s by James Stevenson (n. d.); with Hurst Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by 1989; purchased by MFA, 1989, from Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, MA.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Peter S. Lynch, Anne and Joseph P. Pellegrino, Anonymous gift, and Frank B. Bemis Fund