2010-04 Wedding Vase with Avian Designs and Corn

This vase has avian designs on each side and corn motifs on the ends. These designs are not identical and there is an imaginative spontaneity of design. The corn reflects Nellie’s membership in the Corn Clan. The polychromatic painting on this pot is as fine as I have seen on a pot by Nellie. The painting fits the shape well and is clear and has not rubbed off.

Nellie is known to have favored a light “whitish” color for her pots after firing. This vase has some golden blushing but generally adherers to her pale preference, underfired by the standards of most Hopi/Hopi-Tewa potters. The vase is thick-walled, is not entirely symmetrical, and sits unevenly on its base.

I’m not particularly fond of the wedding vase shape because it is not indigenous to Hopi culture. There are only four such pots in the collection, the others being 1998-03, 2015-06 and 2020-01.  All were collected because of their exceptional design.  My sentiments may be shared by some Hopi: “We don’t use anything like this here,”observed a Third Mesa potter, “but maybe they do over by the Rio Grand…..(W)e just make these for tourists (Wyckoff, 1985:88).”