2020-14 Small broken Beatrice Nampeyo pot

[Click and double click photos to enlarge.]


Small, broken, and glued, bowl 2020-14 is the fourth pot by Beatrice Nampeyo in this collection.  Three of them are miniatures. As explained in the catalog entry for pot 2020-13, Beatrice was about 30 years old when she died in 1942.  Not much is known about her life and her pottery is rarely seen. Beatrice “was briefly involved with pottery, but moved away after marrying. The date of her death is uncertain…” (Dillingham, 1994:43). There is a picture of Beatrice ca 1930 in Dillingham.


The bowl is roughly formed with somewhat thick walls.  From the bottom the clay flares outward and then quickly slopes toward the mouth of the jar so that the widest point of the bowl is below the midpoint.  More than a third of the wall of the pot broke off into one large and one small shard and these were reattached using glue that seeped into the interior.


The design is monochromatic using a reddish-black paint.  The rim is irregularly painted, with some of the paint spreading into the interior of the bowl.  A thinner line is drawn below the rim and this line and another near the bottom frame the design.

The bowl displays one panel of design and it is repeated three times.  Three vertical lines forming “two lane highways”separate the design panels.  Affixed to the right wall of each panel are two small hills.  Between them is a set of three parallel lines that intrude into an unpainted space. At the far end of that space is a lens-shaped element, tilted and bisected by another two-lane highway.  The upper half of the lens is painted black; the lower half is stippled. Against the far wall of the panel is another stippled form, rectangular at the bottom, then angling outward towards the top.  The unpainted residual space between this form and the lens element is defined by the curved edge of the lens and and the angular edge of the stippled element.

This is a fairly simple design repeated three times on a miniature pot. It is not visually compelling, but it is a pot by Beatrice Nampeyo.  As such it tells us something about the range of work done by an artist with a famous lineage, a small output and a life cut short.