2012-11 Sikyatki Shards A and B

Shard A: according to Fewkes (1919: 241-242 and plate 78), the design on shard “A” represents a prayer offering (Nakwakwoci) consisting of breast feathers tied in a proscribed way to the end of a string. A very similar design can be found on the “Bird Hanging from Sky Band” design Sikyatki bowl at the Peabody Museum that apparently served as a model for bowl 1993-04 by Nampeyo. Designs very similar to shard “A” are also found on a 1890s Polacca bowl with this design (1999-09a) and a modern version by Steve Lucas (2010-23). Over the years, I have been given such prayer offerings at Hopi; one was given to me by Barbara Chester.

Shard B: This fragment appears to show a terraced pattern that may represent rain clouds and perhaps a crook that is sometimes interpreted as representing running water. Stephen understood these symbols together as representing a “cloud god” (Patterson 1994:146).

In any case, both shards represent designs that were typical of Sikyatki ware (1375 to 1690 CE), were abandoned with the development of the Polacca ware tradition (1700 to 1890 CE) and were again used by Nampeyo and her generation during the Sikyatki Revival, 1900 CE and ff.