Object photography

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Object description

  • Diego Romero (Cochiti pueblo, birth 1964)
  • Corn Maiden, late 1990's
  • Ceramic, paint
  • Cochiti pueblo, New Mexico, United States
  • H: 8 1/4 in, dia.: 12 in (H: 21.0 cm, dia.: 30.5 cm)
  • Gift of James and Margie Krebs, 2008
  • E303926
  • In his work, Romero adeptly balances humor, sensuousness, and important social messages
  • Image based on Large reclining Nude (or, The Pink Nude) by Henri Mattise, 1935 (Baltimore Museum of Art)

Raised in Berkeley, California above a comic book store, Diego Romero draws on prehistoric southwestern pottery, Greek amphoras, mythology, and popular culture. He hand-coils and paints his polychrome earthenware, blending his ancestors' techniques with contemporary explorations into tribal politics, superheroes, and cultural identity. Here, Corn Maiden, the beloved Puebloan spiritual figure, is Romero's subject. Revered for bringing sustenance and life, she lays alluringly in the fertile valley, near the water where sperm-like tadpoles are swimming, surrounded by her gift of corn.


There is an inscription on the side of the bowl, just below the rim, in gold print, that reads, "Chongo made and painted me 'Corn Maiden'".


This is a deep, round earthenware bowl, shaped like a half sphere with a completely rounded base. The outside of the bowl is painted a solid brownish orange color. The very top of the rim is painted gold. There is a decorative painted scene in the center of the bowl, depicting a naked woman wearing a large tablita headdress (traditional Tewa ceremonial headgear) with a bird perched upon the top. There is another bird perched on the maiden's knee. The woman is surrounded by five corn stalks and steep mountains are behind her. There is a flowing river in front of her with sperm swimming through. The scene is symbolizing fertility and is painted with brown paint on an off-white background. This scene is bordered by a decorate band just below the rim painted in gold and divided into four sections of alternating diagonal scalloped and serrated patterns. Further remarks: According to the artist, this image is based on Large reclining Nude (also known as The Pink Nude) by Henri Matisse, 1935, which is in the Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Exhibition History

  • Intersections, Native American Art in a New Light, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.; June 24, 2006 through November 27, 2011


Diego Romero