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Object Monday: Turtle Figurine by Frances P. Torivio

Turtle figurine by Frances P. Torivio

Turtle figurine by Frances P. Torivio


This ceramic figurine of a small turtle mounted on the back of a larger turtle is decorated with black-on-white geometric motifs was made by Frances P. Torivio (1905-2001) of Acoma Pueblo.

Frances (also named Sra-Ma-Tyai or Singing Child) worked as a tourist guide at Acoma Pueblo as a young woman. She began making pottery for sale to support her family after the death of her first husband. An active potter and teacher throughout her life, she taught her daughters and many other Acoma women in community classes she offered at the request of the Pueblo of Acoma tribal government. Despite the availability of commercial clays and paints, she was committed to using traditional materials and standards in her pottery and preferred to decorate her vessels with ancient designs. As an active potter and teacher, she spearheaded the Pueblo’s effort to ensure the continuation of traditional Acoma pottery.

For more information on Frances Torivio, see “Narrator Style and Purpose in a Story’s Crafting: Two Tellings of a Tale From Acoma” by Karen M. Duffy in Journal of Folklore Research (Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 221-266.)

Name: Ceramic Figurine
Artist: Frances Torivio
Culture: Acoma Pueblo
Collection: Ethnology
Object: 2002.27.107
Post by: Lauren Fuka