Hopi seed pot with feather design, Jean Sahme. The design is an interpretation of the design used by “Old Lady” Nampeyo on a pot that in 1992 was in Richard Howard’s home.

The Nampeyo pot that served as the model for pot 1992-10 appears in Robert Ashton (1976:29) and a close-up of this same pot is the cover illustration for the John Collins catalog for the 1974 Muckenthaler exhibit Nampeyo, Hopi Potter: Her Artistry and Her Legacy. The title page of the catalogue has a drawing of the full design. In May 1994 I took photos of this pot at Dick Howard’s home [on file]. Perhaps this is the same Nampeyo bowl shown in Gill, 1976:16. The bowl might also be the one pictured in 70th Indian Market Magazine, 1991 (Southwestern Association on Indian Affairs, 1991:32).

Jean Sahme (born 1949) has been a frequent visitor to Dick Howard’s home and admired her great-great grandmother’s pot. She has made several pots using this “Old Lady” Nampeyo design as her inspiration. Although attractive, Jean’s feather design appears to me to be “boxier” and not as fluid as the original Nampeyo design. Jean’s feathered elements seem to hang from the central red square around the opening. The original Nampeyo design lacks this central element and thus swirls gracefully around the circular opening of the older pot. For a picture of Jean and her comments about potting, see Dillingham (1994:46). For other pots in the collection by Jean Sahme, see the Artist List. For a 1979 pot by her seven-year-old daughter, Donnella Tom, see 1994-18, also 1998-09 and 2006-13. A version of the design on 1992-10 was used by Jean’s nephew Doyle Chapella on 2008-02.

Purchase History:
Purchased on 10/3/92 from Richard Howard.