2014-13 Dish with insect variation of “bird hanging from skyband” design

Object ID:
2014-13

Artist:
Nampeyo 2 (unsigned); painted by a daughter

Dimensions:
2.313” h X 7.688” wide

This shallow bowl has an uneven rim and an extra rim coil, typical of Nampeyo’s work.

It is often difficult to distinguish between the painting of Nampeyo and her oldest daughter Annie, but the large number of “Nampeyo” associated pots in this collection provides some basis for an informed guess.

1) Shallow redware bowl 1997-04 was sold to me by Marty Streuver, a knowledgable Hopi pottery dealer. She believed the bowl was formed by Nampeyo but painted by Annie, an assessment shard by Nampeyo scholar Barbara Kramer . Barbara, in part, based her assessment on the comparison between bowl 1997-04 and a similar bowl in the collection of the Mesa Verde Museum. (Image of the Mesa Verde pot on file.)

2) Canteen 2000-07 has a shape that indicates that it was probably formed by Nampeyo, but the preponderance of opinion suggests that it was painted by Annie.

What both bowl 1997-04 and canteen 2000-07 share are light, curvilinear elements of design that end in a pointed motif. Bowl 2014-13 is a particularly clear example of this motif with two slightly different renditions hanging from thin lines. These lines do not offer much visual support for the pointed elements, a pattern also seen in bowl 1997-04. The pointed elements on bowl 2014-13
are most like the similar element on canteen 2000-07. When seen together, these three pots display a lightness of design that seems characteristic of Annie and is in contrast to bolder brush strokes of Nampeyo. In an evaluation of bowl 2014-13 written for Al Alexander of Adobe Gallery, Ed Wade references this design:

“The abstracted bird or insect composition on this bowl is among the earliest that Nampeyo and her eldest daughter Annie adopted from the ancient Sikyatki ceramics…(T)he design begins as a fishhook-like crescent…Extending from one of the triangular barbs is a curved banded line terminating in a ball with projecting antennae. This is the neck and head of the creature.”

I would interpret the curved banded line as a string ending in a pathos prayer feather, but two Pahana men arguing over what was in the mind of a Tewa potter 100 years ago seems a little silly.
In any case, I don’t think Nampeyo would have hung the curvilinear elements off the linear base without more visual support than a simple line.

The linear elements that form this base of the design have motifs that are generally characteristic of Nampeyo: linear tails and two “window pane” depictions. Below these is a solid black line and a red area interrupted by an unpainted curved hill. I have argued (vase 2013-03) that the windowpane design is particularly characteristic of Nampeyo’s work and can be used as an identifying marker.
While I still believe this to be true, I think that on bowl 2014-13 we are seeing Annie painting in the style of her mother and adopting her designs. Though the design elements may be characteristic of Nampeyo, the interrelation of these elements lacks her touch. For example, I have argued that “the use of color to integrate design elements” is characteristic of Nampeyo’s mature work. (Appendix B and C.) Such integration is not seen on bowl 2014-13 and thus the curved elements seem simply sit on the red sections of the base. Similarly, the elements within the base do not have logic of pattern that is characteristic of Nampeyo’s work but are simply strung together, as with most Hop pottery. Annie painted this bowl.

In his evaluation, Ed Wade reaches a similar conclusion:

“The bold openness of the painting and asymmetric infilling of the negative motifs is more characteristic of the hand of Annie than her mother, although in early works such as this it is difficult to be absolutely certain of who of the mother-daughter team assumed the role of designer or sculptor.”

Bowl 2014-13 is important in the collection because 1) it is beautiful and 2) it allows us to use the breadth of pots in the collection to discover new patterns of production between Nampeyo and her daughters,

Purchase History:
Bowl 2014-13 was a generous wedding gift from a Bay Area pueblo pottery collector and his wife, 6/18/14. He had originally purchased this bowl from Al Anthony of Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe. Al noted that “There is an old pencil inscription on the back ‘Made by Hopi Indians, Winslow’ which possibly indicates that it was purchased from Juan Lorenzo Hubbell’s Trading Post in Winslow, which carried Nampeyo’s pottery.” Adobe Gallery documentation on file, including the evaluation that Ed Wade wrote for the gallery..