National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Water Spout, Sandstone Water Spout, Sandstone
Rendered by Raymond E. Noble (artist), 1939
watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite on paper
overall: 35.5 x 26.7 cm (14 x 10 1/2 in.) Original IAD Object: Fig: 18"x18"x24"
Index of American Design
1943.8.6900
Not on View
From the Tour: Folk Arts of the Spanish Southwest from the Index of American Design
Object 5 of 25

In California, most existing carving in the round is of stone, in contrast to the many wooden "bultos," or statues, of New Mexico. An example is this sandstone waterspout from the Santa Barbara mission. One of the reasons the site was selected for a mission, in fact, was the presence of abundant building stone. This piece may represent the grizzly bear, native to California. The waterspout was situated at the head of a stone laundry vat below a fountain in front of the mission. The overflow from the fountain was conducted to the laundry vat, emptying through the mouth of the bear into the basin of the vat. Indians brought their family wash to this basin, dipping garments in the water and beating them against the rim with paddles.

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