John K. Hillers
FIRST TERRACE OF ZUNI
This photograph provides a good view of the activities that went on in the Pueblos. Like Taos, Zuni has the apartment complex structure in the form of stacked blocks. These are offset so that some of the roofs form living areas, or “terraces.” A great deal of daily work took place there, such as pottery-making, cooking, and tanning animal hides. This picture clearly shows a hide pegged down for processing and indicates other activities such as pottery-making. Food is being dried, with corn scattered around and chiles hanging in strings, or ristras, on the walls. An horno, the beehive shaped oven, is being used for baking bread.
A most interesting piece is the decorated pot near the hide. It is painted with a typical Zuni design known as the “Rainbird,” which apparently came into use not many years before Hillers made this image. The chimneys are made of stacked pots and form a distinctive feature of the Pueblos. A ladder providing access to the ground floor rooms is visible in this picture.
This Pueblo had been occupied for several hundred years before the Spanish incursion of the late sixteenth century. It is located in the western part of New Mexico, almost to the Arizona border, and was less accessible than the Pueblos along the Rio Grande in north central New Mexico. Nevertheless, Zuni was very much a part of the history of the Southwest and remains a major part of the culture of the area.