2003-04 Jar with Stopper – Manas – Crosses – Stepped Images

An extraordinary jar with stopper, stylized polychromatic paintings of Kachina Manas with frets, and triangular bodies, isosceles triangles, and stepped pyramids, crosses, stippling and blushing from outdoor firing.

An image of two isosceles triangles, which are reversed, with one on top of the other, appears twice on this jar: once on the side of the jar and once on the stopper. These are the image of a “cloud ladder” wand (omausaka paho) carried by kachinas. “It is thought that this ladder carries a message to the clouds to help bring clouds and rain for the crops” (Branson 1992:231). This same image is interpreted by Alexander Stephen as the pottery symbol for “woman” (Patterson, 1994:253). Potters on Third Mesa told Wyckoff (1985:105) that these three triangles represent the corn plant. The three interpretations may, in fact, be complementary. Rain, fertile women, and corn are all images of nurturing and emergent life.

Some of the mana images on this jar seem to wear Navajo chief blankets (ca. 1865-1870) with cross design (Kaufman and Selser 1985:33, #47). These are evocative images on an elegant jar. All of Priscilla’s daughters are doing fine creative work that remains rooted in tradition. See especially “Jean Sahme,” “Nyla Sahmie” and “Rachel Sahmie” in the Artist List.

A jar very similar to 2003-04 was used to illustrate the announcement of a Hopi pottery workshop by Rachel at Crow Canyon Archeological Center in 2003 [copy on file].