Place: Hopi, Southwestern United States
Media: Clay and mineral paints
Dims: 8.5 x 3 in. (21.6 x 7.6 cm).
Date: c. 1500
This is the style of pottery that intrigued and inspired the potter Nampeyo. Note the yellow color clay and smooth surface, a thick band at the opening with a line break, and an abstracted design surrounded by stippling. As non-Hopi people, we cannot accurately read the design; we have neither the cultural knowledge nor are we living one-half millennia ago to learn, practice and speak the language embodied in this bowl. However, Nampeyo, like other Hopi potters and people, understood the pot’s reference points or language. Perhaps we can suggest that the combination of iconographic elements appears to be a person or one of the Hopi Katsinas or deities. Or we might see the eagle tail at the bottom of the figure and a flower serving as its body, which we might suggest as prayers represented by feathers and birds to bring moisture which grows flowers.
Gift of William Schenck, 2017