1996-01 Water Blessing Vessel

Tubular shaped pottery vessel with both ends bent up, pinched and open. Polychrome hummingbirds painted on both sides (the paint is scuffed), curved handle with four black dots. Made about 1910. I purchased the pot from Deborah Neal of the Old Territorial Shop, Scottsdale on February 14, 1996. In her appraisal [on file], Deborah writes:

“Purpose of the vessel: One and Two-Horn Society priests side-step arm in arm, (using this pot) to pour water down Sipapu, moving from kiva to kiva. (The) head priest pours, the head of each kiva catches (this water) in (a) bowl (and) trades it (for) corn meal to pay for blessing.”

Collected by Margaret Cross, ca 1917 from Walpi, First Mesa while visiting and observing with her father who was a collector and trader of Indian artifacts. Margaret and her husband were traders and collectors with the Heards (Heard Museum) and operated a trading post in Scottsdale in the 1950s – 1960s. Jim Cross (their son) has been a trader at Hopi, specializing in top quality kachina dolls and studying the Kachina Society all his life. The piece and the information comes from him.”

A vessel with a somewhat similar shape is published in Wade & McChesney (1981:543) and is identified as perhaps from the Second Mesa village of Mishongave, but no use is suggested.