This is an elegant little jar by signed “RSahmie,” probably Randall. It is either evenly blushed from the firing or made with some amount of yellow clay mixed with the gray to fire a rich tan. The opening is encircled by a thin line that spirals off to form an abstract avian design ending in two tail feathers. Above this design are what appear to be two stick figures (kachinas?) joined together at the hands and waist and perhaps dancing. In spite of the small size, the painting is extraordinarily precise and clear. For example: Two tiny parallel lines form the heads of the two figures; two longer parallel lines and a series of ten short parallel lines form a design half way around the pot. These lines are so small that they are difficult to see, yet they are all parallel and exact. Because the design spirals clockwise off the pot opening, the design has great energy.

While the pot was sold as being “by Rachel Sahmie,” I do not believe she ever signed her pots in this manner. The lettering is closer the signature used by her brother, Randall (see 2008-14). Randall died suddenly and tragically in August 2008, age 58. He is better known as a Kachina carver and painter than a potter, but his extraordinary talent is clearly displayed on this seedpot.

Having seen photographs of jar 2010-19, Deborah Neal of Old Territorial Indian Arts wrote that she though Randy was the maker: he “lived near Jeddito and was really inspired by the place. These figures look like petroglyphs from there.”

Purchase History:
Purchased on 10/16/10 on eBay from Michael Higgins Antique Indian Art of Tucson, AZ [Receipt on file.] The pot “is part of a collection that recently came out of a[n] estate.”