The “fine line migration” design is a common Nampeyo family design.  The maker of seedjar 2019-10, Marie Nampeyo, was not a prolific potter, so pots by her are uncommon.

The walls of the pot are substantial, but not thick.  A previous owner covered the inside of the pot up to the waist line with some sort of plastic that hardened with a rough surface.  I have no idea why.  The inside walls near the neck remain as-made and are smooth. All Hopi or Hopi-Tewa pottery is coil built, but here the coiling left the mouth of the jar somewhat off-center.  The exterior was stone polished smooth with no visible striations,

This pot is signed “Maria” Nampeyo whereas an earlier pot by her in this collection is signed “Marie” Nampeyo (1994-17).  I have a photograph (on file with this pot) of a pot that was for sale by King Galleries, Scottsdale that is signed with both names, so I am confident that we are talking about the one person with a variation in how she spelled her name.

Seven “bat wings” encircle the mouth of the pot and thus seven similar elements with a reverse orientation grace the bottom of the vessel.  Just below the upper set a band of design links each rendition to its neighbor.  Following other Nampeyo family variations of this composition, the design other than the wing forms is wide and filled with hundreds of parallel lines overlaid with X-shaped hatch marks.

The “fine-line migration” design on this pot is a hallmark of the Nampeyo family.  Its intricate, regular pattern is remarkable, especially since it is generally drawn freehand and not plotted out with a pencil.  The formal structure of the design, however, prohibits much variation and, having looked at Hopi pots for almost six decades, my eye is no longer as intrigued by the design as it one was.  [For other pots with this design in the collection, see he “Category” list.]

Nampeyo family members have told me that the design is a “test” for young potters.  When they can form a pot and successfully decorate it with this design, they are recognized as capable artists and encouraged to produce without supervision.

Maria was the daughter of Nellie and thus the granddaughter of Nampeyo.  She was mother of Jake Koopee Sr. and thus grandmother of Jake Koopee, Jr. who was widely thought the best potter of his generation until he died at age 41 in June, 2011.

Purchase History:
Purchased with an absentee bid from Homestead Auctions, Norton, Ohio on 4-27-19.