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Myra Tso Kaye
Ram Pot
1992
fired clay with piņon pitch
14 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 9 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Snowden A. Fahnestock



In this vessel Kaye pays homage to her southwest Native American heritage and reveals her own skills as a visual interpreter of wildlife imagery. The stylized forms of leaping and running rams incised on the pot's exterior recall ancient Anasazi petroglyphs. Emerging from the handle, the ram's noble head is strikingly realistic. Through this combination of old and new the artist symbolically reconciles the native and non-native cultures that have occupied the Americas over the centuries. For the Navajo the ram is a sacred animal, so when she completed this piece Kaye inserted an offering of cornmeal in its spout.