Decoding Mimbres Painting
Ancient Ceramics of the American Southwest
This generously illustrated book explores the pottery of the Mimbres people and offers new insight into its imagery.
Named after a valley in what is now Southwestern New Mexico, the Mimbres culture flourished between the 10th and 12th centuries. Through the exploration of paintings on Mimbres bowls, this book offers revelations about the culture’s worldview based on the patterns and shapes depicted in its pottery. Drawing on extensive research as well as photography of the flora and fauna that still thrive in the Mimbres Valley, the authors make the case that the pottery’s beautiful black-and-white paintings and highly intricate designs are abstractions of hallucinogenic experiences. Presenting a distinctive new interpretation of the iconography of ancient Mimbres painted ceramics, this volume addresses Mimbres culture and how this past civilization lived and communicated with the spirit world.
TONY BERLANT is an artist and a founding member of the Mimbres Foundation, a Los Angeles–based conservancy dedicated to protecting vulnerable Mimbres sites. EVAN MAURER is Director Emeritus of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. JULIA BURTENSHAW is Assistant Curator in the Art of the Ancient Americas Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.