2014-19 Interlocking tiles with katchnas, feathers and inscription

Object ID:
2014-19

Artist:
Mark Tahbo

Dimensions:
Each 4.5” h X 6.375” long X 0.25” thick

The tile with the bottom slot is somewhat curved.

Since the publication of the Messier book on Hopi and Pueblo Tiles in 2007, there has been an upsurge in collector interest in such pottery. Mark Tahbo invented the technique of painting both sides of rectangular tiles and forming each with a slot so that two tiles could be fit together and stood upright.

Tiles 2014-19 were custom made for The Silver Plume Trading Post, as indicated by that name painted on one section. I will cal this tile #1. On this tile Mark has spackled the name of the trading post, perhaps a wish that it enjoy good moisture, The other section on this side of tile #1 depicts about a dozen different tail feathers delicately drawn like a beautiful bouquet of flowers. On the reverse side, two katchinas play a version of lacross, their legs and backs bent in effort, their faces at slightly different angles to the viewer. These images are full of energy and motion. The tile is signed on its edge “Tahbo.”

One side of tile #2 shows a whipper katchina trying to catch a man, as is customary at some katchina dances. The legs of the katchina are oddly drawn, one very short and the other very short from knee to foot. Perhaps Mark was introducing perspective into this flat plane depiction. Both figures are rushing to the left off the tile and the energy of the depiction is clear. In contrast, the reverse side of tile #2 shows two Sikyatki birds facing each other and their stubby form is clearly drawn but lacks energy. I find the design of most modern Hopi tiles to be static and the appeal of this set is that it has 5 segments (of 8) with dynamic, exciting designs.

Purchase History:
Purchased from Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe in response to an advertized 20% off sale. Al Anthony, the gallery owner, has had this pair of standing Tahbo tiles and another pair for years. This pair was made as a “special order” for George T. Anderman, owner of The Silver Plume Gallery, formerly in Albuquerque, NM and now moved to Sydney, Australia. Presumably this set was made when the gallery was a bit closer to Hopi. Anderman has one of the finest collections of antique (1890 to 1920) Hopi tiles in existence.