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River Man with White Cross

ca. 1992 Louis Naranjo Born: Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico 1932 Died: Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico 1997 fired clay, slip, beeweed, stick, and leather part A (figure): 14 x 7 x 5 3/4 in. (35.6 x 17.8 x 14.6 cm) part B (stick): 3 1/4 x 1/4 in. (8.4 x 0.7 cm) irregular Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1997.124.167A-B Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 26B


Luce Center Quote

“Making pottery is the way of our people and I want to keep it up.” Louis Naranjo, quoted in Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia, 1990

Luce Center Label

Louis Naranjo’s River Men may have been inspired by Los Hermanos Penitentes (the Penitent Brothers), a group of Franciscans active in many small New Mexico towns. Naranjo covered the figures with crosses and gave them leather whips, symbolizing the self-flagellation that the Penitentes practice during Holy Week. The peaceful expressions on the figures’ faces, however, suggest that their devotion prevents them from feeling any pain.

Keywords

Emblem - cross

Figure male - full length

decorative arts - ceramic

folk art

animal parts - leather

clay

plant material

wood

About Louis Naranjo

Born: Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico 1932 Died: Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico 1997

More works in the collection by
Louis Naranjo