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Jar with Handles
Jar with Handles, Mid- 17th century
Attributed to Damián Hernández, Mexican (Puebla de los Angeles)
Tin-glazed earthenware
Height: 18 1/2 inches (47 cm)
Purchased with funds contributed by Mrs. John Harrison, 1907
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First Looks

  • What is this?
  • Describe the pictures and patterns decorating this jar. How are they organized?
  • What section is not decorated?
  • What repeating patterns can you find?
  • What is this jar made of? How was it made?
  • Where are the handles? What makes them special?

Second Looks

  • Can you find some letters written in script? What could they be?
  • Most of the decoration is blue on white. Look for a few places where the decoration is dark blue on light blue. Which combination is brighter? Why?
  • How do you think this jar was used? (Hint: find out its size.)
  • Based on what you can see, who might have owned it? Why?

Connect and Compare

  • Create a family tree for Jar with Handles using words and pictures that show influences and elements from a variety of cultures: Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Islamic.
  • Fancy china and carriages were status symbols in colonial Mexico. What are some status symbols in your school and your neighborhood?

Related Art Project

Fold several squares of white construction paper (6 x 6 inches) in half. Cut out several different kinds of jar shapes. Choose one to decorate with pictures and patterns using only blue markers, crayons, oil pastels, or watercolors. Draw a picture on your jar that shows something about your life. Try using dots in parts of your design. Place the decorated vase on a large piece of light-colored construction paper. As you move your vase around on the paper, imagine that it is in colonial Mexico—in a living room or dining room, an outdoor patio, or a church altar. Then draw the scene you imagine around your vase.

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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