1991-09 1920s Bowl with Bird Hanging from Sky Band Design (broken)

Hopi bowl, Sikyatki design elements, 1920s, unsigned. According to Eleanor and her brother (as told to Margaret Kilgore, the seller), this pot was collected in the 1920s by Emry Kopta, an Arizona sculptor, and given as a gift to Miss Hendrickson. Miss Hendrickson came to the Arizona Territory in 1904 and taught at the Phoenix Indian School until 1908. Ms. Ann Phelps, a friend and fellow teacher, introduced her to Kopta. Ann Phelps later married Emry Kopta. Miss Hendrickson also married and her name changed to Anderson. Her daughter, Eleanor Anderson Logan, inherited the pot and the story of its purchase. When Eleanor Anderson Logan died recently, Ms. Kilgore sold her pottery collection.

The Kilgore gallery dated the piece as the 1940s, then the 1930s. Based on the story about Kopta, in a July 1992 letter, Ms Kilgore notes that “the late 1920s is correct.” Emry Kopta lived in Polacca from 1912 to 1924. “Nampeyo supplied Kopta with clay from her sources and taught him to prepare it and to manipulate the firing process” (Thomas 1991: 24). An article by Walter Hough (1917) concerning Nampeyo refers to a bust of Nampeyo by Kopta and their friendship. According to the Collins (1974:47), Kopta did a bronze bust of Nampeyo in 1922 that was shown in the Muckenthaler exhibit in 1974. For a picture of Kopta and Tom Pavatea in Polacca and Kopta’s pictures of his Hopi friends, see Breunig (1983-03). In 1922, Kopta met Anna Phelps, a teacher at the Indian School….After their marriage, the couple settled in Phoenix” (Thomas 1991:24).

As fellow teachers at the Indian School, Anna Phelps and Miss (?) Hendrickson were apparently friends. One might speculate that Kopta gave Ms. Hendrickson this bowl sometime between 1922 when he was living at Hopi and met Ms. Phelps and 1924 when he and his new bride moved to Phoenix. A production date of 1922-1924 is most probable, therefore. (Although Kopta continued to visit Hopi, at least into the 1940s.) Sadly, this pot seems to have jumped off a table while I was not home and shattered.