2010-04 Wedding Vase with Avian Designs and Corn

Object ID:
2010-04

Artist:
Nellie Nampeyo

Dimensions:
9.5” h X 6.25” w

This vase has avian designs on each side and corn motifs on the ends. These designs are not identical and there is an imaginative spontaneity of design. The corn reflects Nellie’s membership in the Corn Clan. The polychromatic painting on this pot is as fine as I have seen on a pot by Nellie. The painting fits the shape well and is clear and has not rubbed off.

Nellie is known to have favored a light “whitish” color for her pots after firing. This vase has some golden blushing but generally adherers to her pale preference, underfired by the standards of most Hopi/Hopi-Tewa potters. The vase is thick-walled, is not entirely symmetrical, and sits unevenly on its base.

I’m not particularly fond of the wedding vase shape because it is not indigenous to Hopi culture. This is only the second example in the collection. (The other is by Dextra Quotskuyva Nampeyo, 1998-03.) My sentiments may be shared by some Hopi: “We don’t use anything like this here,”
observed a Third Mesa potter, “but maybe they do over by the Rio Grand…..(W)e just make these for tourists (Wyckoff, 1985:88).” I am attracted to vase 2010-04 because of its exceptional painting and in spite of its shape.

Purchase History:
Purchased on 2/6/10 on eBay. The sellers, Matt and Dianna Elam of Seattle, WA, had themselves purchased the pot on eBay on 8/22/07 from “Ancient Collectables” in New Mexico. These sellers have no recollection of the pot, but they apparently bought it from Freedman’s Auctions, Philadelphia, on 5/19/07 as part of a two-pot lot (auction record on file).