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Storyteller with Twenty Figures

ca. 1985 Helen Cordero Born: Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico 1915 Died: 1994 fired clay with slip and beeweed 11 1/8 x 7 7/8 x 11 in. (28.3 x 20.0 x 27.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Gibson Fahnestock 1997.124.148 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 26B


Luce Center Quote

“His eyes are closed because he’s thinking; his mouth is open because he’s singing.” Helen Cordero, quoted in Rosenak, Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia, 1990

Luce Center Label

Born into the Fox clan, Cochiti Pueblo, in New Mexico, Helen Cordero is best remembered for her clay storytellers. In Pueblo lore, storytellers represent the power of story and tradition. Cordero's figures always have closed eyes and open mouths, as if they are singing traditional Cochiti songs. She carved small figures of children climbing around the storytellers, clinging to their clothing and listening intently to show the importance of passing down Cochiti customs to the next generation. (Rosenak, Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia, 1990)

Keywords

Figure group

Performing arts - music - voice

Recreation - leisure - storytelling

decorative arts - ceramic

folk art

clay

plant material

About Helen Cordero

Born: Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico 1915 Died: 1994

More works in the collection by
Helen Cordero