Artifact Gallery - Mug

White mug with black, painted geometric designs
Black-on-white mug from two perspectives

This mug, made in the 13th century (1200s CE), represents the exceptional artistic expression of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Mesa Verde pottery typically featured black geometric patterns applied with a yucca paintbrush on a grayish white background. These patterns were remarkable for their balance and design.

Pottery first appeared in Mexico, and by 400 to 500 CE, it was made in Mesa Verde. The Ancestral Pueblo people experimented with adding a tempering material such as sand or finely ground grit from the region to keep pottery from cracking as it dried. The pottery was then fired and decorated using dye from Beeweed, which satisfied both utilitarian and aesthetic uses.

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Last updated: May 9, 2020

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Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330



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