2011-06 Pair of Ceramic Moccasins

Object ID:
2011-06

Artist:
Garnet Pavatea

Dimensions:
See Description

Right boot = 3.88” h X 3.25” long sole X 1.82” wide sole X 2.625” w at top.
Left boot = 4.0” h X 3.38 “ long sole X 1.88” wide sole X 2.688” w at top.

These are pottery models of Hopi leather fringe boots. Each is signed by the maker. The left moccasin has been “toasted” in the fire a bit more than the right, but otherwise the moccasins are close to an identical pair, both in size and decoration. Each has five design elements representing leather fringe. On the left boot the fringe sways to the right; on the left it sways to the left. When seen from the front as if worn on feet, these design elements both sway toward the center.

A master potter carefully made these. Why “waste” time on such silly objects? The answer is found in a comment made by Wade and Machesney: “The history of the Southwest Indian art market has shown repeatedly that Pueblo potters are quick to switch styles when cash incentives are offered (1981:455).” Museums and serious collectors might vie for Garnet’s major works, but these clay boots would sell quickly to a tourist wanting a souvenir.

Allan Hayes and John Bloom wrote a whole book about “little pieces (of Southwest Native American pottery) that (range) from the eccentric to the truly silly….(they make) us smile (1998:4).” Fittingly they devote a section to moccasins like 2011-06: “For reasons we can’t explain, (every pueblo) makes these, and they made them long before there were tourists to buy cute souvenirs (1998:30).”

Purchase History:
Purchased on 5/19/11 from Will and Deenise Jones of Santa Fe, NM. [Receipt on file.] They write “We bought the mocs from a friend in Albuquerque, NM. Deenise has known Mike Ingersoll for 35 years and also knew his mother Louise who collected Native American items from the 1940’s to 1960’s. After her death, Mike offered items from her estate to us. We bought them (moccasins 2011-06) a few years ago and have enjoyed them in our collection since then. I do not know where Louise purchased them.” Allan and Carol Hayes have a somewhat similar pair of Garnet Pavatea moccasins for sale that they date as circa 1965.