2015-07 Small ant pot

Object ID:
2015-07

Artist:
Daisy Nampeyo

Dimensions:
1.775” h X 2.08” w

Daisy seems to have invented small “ant pots” like 2015-07 and related an engaging story that made them attractive to buyers. Barbara Kramer relates this story, having been told it (I think) by Daisy, though the citation is not clear:

“Long ago, (Grandmother Nampeyo) would tell (children), when people wanted to get rid of ants, they made little ant pots into which they put honey.  They placed the pots near ant hills, and the sweet honey attracted the ants.  When all the ants were eating honey, the people used a stick or hoe to move the pot far away so the ants could not bite the children (in the village) any more (1996:97).”

Small pot 2015-07 reflects this story.  It is symmetrical and surprisingly light, demonstrating Daisy’s practiced skill with clay. It is slightly blushed, indicating a traditional out-door firing.

Dancing in procession around the outside of the jar are six large ants and four small ones. Two of the smaller ants have hitched a ride on the back of a large ant. All but the ants riding piggyback are playing flutes. There are thick over thin framing lines above this design and below the rim.

A fine version of this pot by Daisy’s daughter Shirley Benn is included in this collection (2014-11). Daisy also worked with Shirley’s daughter Cheryl Naha making ant pots almost identical to 2015-07. (See 1994-03.)

Rick Dillingham (1994:41) shows an ant pot very much like 2015-07 and dates it as having been made in 1985. Daisy died in 1994 and I assume that pot 2015-07 was made during the last decade of her life.

Purchase History:
Purchased with a telephone bid from R.G. Munn Auctions, Mayhill, NM, Lot #199, 7/7/15 (Receipt on file.) In a phone conversation, Ron G. Munn told me that this pot is from a collector in Los Angeles who is in his 80’s and, before he dies, wants to be sure that “his pots go to people who really appreciate them.”