Pumpkin Effigy


The tribal people of the Southeast created many different forms with their pottery. Sometimes it could look like an animal such as a human or a bear. Sometimes it resembled plants or their fruit.

I-ya (pumpkin) is one of the crops grown by the Cherokee people and other tribal groups of the Southeastern United States. Many times pottery vessels were made to resemble certain plants or crops such as gourds, pumpkins, or seeds, to serve as markers for storage. Pumpkin seeds could be stored in a vessel that looked like a pumpkin and would let the person know immediately what was in the pot by the shape of the vessel.

The crops and plants of the America's gave the world many foods that were unknown in the rest of the world just 400 years ago. These foods provided energy and helped to build and stabilize cultures in North and South America. They now provide energy and have helped to build and stabilize other societies throughout the world.

These foods are everyday things we don't even think of as having a tribal past. Just a few of these crops are foods such as potatoes, corn, certain beans, pineapples, certain peppers, cocoa, vanilla, cranberries, tomatoes and there is evidence that watermelons (once thought to have come to the America's from Asia) may have been grown in North America as well.



Pumpkin Effigy Photo

Medium: Hand coiled native clay.Pit fired. 4" H X 4" D

(Private Collection)