Although ceramic pots may have practical uses in everyday life, the pieces at the “Out of the Fire: Mesoamerican and Pueblo Ceramics” exhibit are much more than household objects. What appears to be a simple ceramic jar with a yellow, black and red image of a red bird painted on it has a deeper and more meaningful purpose than you’d initially suspect. These beautiful ceramic pieces contain spiritual icons that were commonly used in religious practices, and many of them were recovered inside of burial tombs and shafts. The colors, symbols and icons that adorn them reveal intimate details into the cultural and personal identities of ancient Mesoamerican and Pueblo Indians. A majority of this exhibit originated from ancient West Mexico, which is now where you’d find modern day states of Nayarit, Colima and Jalisco. This region was rightfully nicknamed by archeologists the “ceramic provinces” because of the multitude of surviving ceramic works that were recovered. Looking at these colorful and intricately designed pieces, it is clear that this community valued artistry. Another region that contributed to this collection is the pre-historic Anasazi. These artists pinched grey-ware pots over 1300 years ago, resulting in some of the earlier pieces in the exhibit. Over time the Anasazi’s style developed into creating more intricate works with black-on-white geometric designs. Don’t miss your opportunity to check out this exhibit and discover the meaningful history of these fascinating cultures.
Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Dr., Palm Springs, (760) 322-4800; www.psmuseum.org. $12.50.