1990-03 Polacca Mutton Stew Bowl with Arabesque Design

Object ID:
1990-03

Artist:
Unknown

Culture:
Hopi

Dimensions:
3.00" h X 7.50" w

Polacca Polychrome Style “C” stew bowl, circa. 1880, unsigned. “Mutton stew bowl form (outward flaring sides); red and black geometric design of crackled white slip; inside band is a series of four Zuni-derived elements; four sided ‘arabesque’ Zuni- derived design on inside bottom; outside decorative band in a series of three Zuni elements; brown bottom and rim; excellent condition indicates that it was collected shortly after it was made.” Description by John Nichols.

Similar bowls were collected by Thomas V. Keam and are pictured in Wade and McChesney (1981). Interior linear designs are on pp. 256-257; external designs are on pp. 293-296. The unused condition of 1990-03 and the similarity of design to the Keam collection suggest that this pot was made for trade with Keam. While this is simply speculation, 1990-03 would then represent the first generation of Hopi pottery made for white tourist consumption rather than Hopi home use. For a somewhat similar Zuni mutton stew bowl from the same period, see Dittert (1980:41, fig. 28). A Polacca stew bowl with a similar interior rim was collected by Maj. John Powell 1870-1880 and is shown in Breed (1972). Very similar arabesque designs on stew bowls made by Poolie at Sichomovi and Mrs. Keely at Tewa (Hano) during the 1930s are described in Allen (1984: 87 and 99). No trace of Zuni-like design on modern pottery could be found at any of the three mesas in 1991, but three modern pots with Zuni rain bird designs (one by Poolie) were later located. (See “rain bird” in the Category List.)

Purchase History:
Purchased on 10/20/90 from Robert Nichols Gallery.