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Hopi Cylindrical Polychrome Jar with Avian Designs [SOLD]

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Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo
  • Medium: Native materials
  • Size: 7-1/8” tall x 4-3/4” diameter
  • Item # 25407
  • SOLD

Frank Applegate conducted classes in the Hopi villages in 1922 at the request of the Indian Commission. It is quite possible that he re-introduced this shape to the Hopi potters at that time. The shape does have precedence from prehistoric times.

Recent studies of excavated prehistoric sites at Chaco Canyon have revealed specimens of cylindrical jars. Anthropologist Patricia Crown, from the University of New Mexico, and a colleague from the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition, analyzed potsherds and found traces of a compound of cacao. From their research, they concluded that the cylindrical jars were used to hold chocolate in beverage form. Only a couple hundred complete jars have been found and most of them came from Pueblo Bonito, but many shards that would fit a cylindrical jar shape have been unearthed.

Many of this 20th century style cylindrical jars were sold by the Fred Harvey Company at its hotels and gift shops, particularly at The Grand Canyon. It is still likely that the re-introduction of them at Hopi was not for drinking chocolate beverages but for selling to collectors and tourists.

It appears that this one was made to be used as a lamp base. There is a small hole drilled into the side of the vessel suitable for an electric cord to penetrate. Someone has plugged the hole with a cork and beautifully painted it to blend in with the yellow vessel wall. It was tempting to have the cork removed and the hole professionally restored, but, on second thought, we decided that the hole was part of the history of the jar and the cork was as well, so we left everything as it was. There is a certain charm in the way the jar looks with the cork plug.

The dual bird design on one side of the jar is monochromatic and only one bird has an eye. The design on the other side of the jar was executed in polychrome style. This jar is structurally in very good condition. Some of the painted design has rubbed in places but not in any significant manner. I would expect that this jar dates to the first quarter of the 20th century and is one of the oldest we have had in quite some time. Most cylindrical jars were made in mid-century.

Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo
  • Medium: Native materials
  • Size: 7-1/8” tall x 4-3/4” diameter
  • Item # 25407
  • SOLD

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