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Native American Nacimientos

Native American Nacimientos

November 8–29

Reception November 8, 5–7 pm

Adobe Gallery, 221 Canyon, adobegallery.com

Nativity sets—nacimientos in Spanish—are made all over the world, from all materials imaginable, in sizes from the miniscule to the life-size or larger, and each reflecting the cultural traditions of its maker. New Mexico’s Pueblo potters have been making nacimientos for the last 60 years.

Manuel and Vicenta Vigil (Tesuque Pueblo) are credited with making the first nativities in 1959. Other artists followed, including Helen Cordero (Cochiti Pueblo)(1915–1994), who invented the clay storyteller figurines. Pueblo nacimientos are painted with traditional designs and the figures wear traditional Pueblo attire. The three wise men bear gifts of corn and turquoise rather than frankincense and myrrh. The show at Adobe Gallery includes sets from many Pueblos and work by Cordero and the Vigils.

Above: Helen Cordero, 17-piece pottery nacimiento (detail), clay, pigment, goat skin, wood, turquoise, figures 1 1/2 to 6 1/2″ tall.