River of Life

Limited Edition Print

Limited Edition Print on Canvas

24″ x 18″ | $285
32″ x 24″ | $495
48″ x 36″ | $1060

The Pueblo Indians, situated in the Southwestern United States, are one of the oldest cultures in the nation.  Pueblo, which means “village” in Spanish, was a term originating with the Colonial Spanish, who used it to refer to the people’s particular style of dwelling.  The Pueblo Indians are believed to be the descendants of three major cultures including the Mogollon, Hohokam, and Ancient Anasazi, with their history tracing back for some 7,000 years.

Originally called by the Towa name “Walatowa,” the Pueblo of Jemez (pronounced “Hay-mess”) is one of 19 pueblos in the state of New Mexico and is located within the southern end of the majestic Cañon de Don Diego.  Situated at the edge of the Jemez Mountains, the village of Walatowa, meaning “this is the place,” now consists of 3,400 tribal members, but was once one of the largest and most powerful of the Puebloan cultures, occupying numerous Puebloan villages that were strategically located on the high mountain mesas and the canyons that surround the present pueblo of Walatowa. These stone-built fortresses, often located miles apart from one another, were upwards of four stories high and contained as many as 3,000 rooms. They now constitute some of the largest archaeological ruins in the United States. Situated between these “giant pueblos” were literally hundreds of smaller one and two room dwellings that were used by the Jemez people during spring and summer months as basecamps for hunting, gathering, and agricultural activities.

Over the centuries Puebloans developed many artistic skills in such things as textile and basket weaving, bead making and mosaic inlay.  But they are especially well known for their pottery making.  Beautiful pieces of pottery were utilized by the pueblo people since prehistoric times to store and cook precious crops and gather and store the most vital necessity of all…water.  These wonderfully decorated water jars, ollas, and dough bowls were therefore an important and necessary item in any pueblo household and were used in ceremonies and rituals as well.

Flowing from the ancient Valles Caldera is the Jemez River which meanders through the heart of the Jemez Mountains and Santa Fe National Forest to eventually join with the Rio Grande in the South.  This painting depicts a young Jemez Pueblo girl coming to that river to gather water in her beautiful Zia jar, a trade item from another nearby Indian village.  Dressed in a traditional dark manta and trade goods like the woven red Hopi sash and Kewa jewelry, the young girl pauses to enjoy the cool water before dipping her jar into the life-giving river.