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Tarahumara Tesguino Fermenting Olla

Latin America, Northern Mexico, the Sierra Madre Occidental, Tarahumara People, early 20th century CE. This is a fermenting pot for creating the ceremonial drink of the Tarahumara people, tesguino, which is made of corn kernels that are soaked, ground, boiled, and fermented naturally with wild yeast. Pots like these are traditionally made by women. They dig clay out of the ground in their homeland of Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), dry it, and grind it on a stone metate; after that it is mixed with water and hand coiled into the shape of a pot. The coils are then scraped into a smooth surface with a gourd shell. The pots are dried and then rubbed with a polishing shell, followed by being fired over coals. This particular example has been decorated with thin looping animal skin and long red-black fur, possibly from a collared peccary. Size: 12.5" W x 10" H (31.8 cm x 25.4 cm).

Condition: The piece has expected wear but is intact with minor rim chipping; the skin and fur details are in excellent condition.

Provenance: Ex-Galleria Eleni, Chicago.

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