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Diné - Navajo Nation Tall Jar with Design Around Rim [SOLD]

C4034C-navajo.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Clay, piñon pitch
  • Size: 9” tall x 7” diameter
  • Item # C4034C
  • SOLD

The importance of pottery to the Navajo people is explained in the book, Navajo Pottery, Traditions and Innovations by Hartman and Musial. “Like so many items within Navajo material culture, the real importance of pottery lies not so much in its functional or utilitarian uses, but rather in its place within the overall cultural framework. According to Navajo belief, pottery making was one of the crafts given by the Holy People even before the Diné emerged into the present world. Its special significance is preserved in the oral history and in ceremonial texts and songs that make frequent references to pottery.”

Until the mid-20th Century, Navajo pottery was mostly made for use within the community. Unpainted, pitch-coated wares decorated with a clay band around the neck were used primarily for utilitarian and ceremonial purposes. Pots, plates and cups were used for food storage and for eating. With the advent of the railroad and the trading post system, the availability of commercial wares replaced the need for handmade utilitarian vessels. However, pottery for ceremonial use was still needed.  Navajo healing ceremonies required specific vessels to hold materials for cleansings, for prescribed foodstuffs and for holding the dry pigments used in sandpaintings.

Navajo pots are made of clay, with sand or old pottery shards used for temper, which makes the pottey vessel even stronger. The pots are covered with piñon pine pitch and smoothed out with a corn cob on the outside.

This Navajo pot’s beauty lies in its beautiful shape and simplicity of design. It was made in the early 20th century in the traditional manner and shows sign of extensive use. The trademark rim design is the only decoration, but the patina of the piñon pine pitch over the years has added the appearance of fire cloud areas that enhance the subtle beauty.


Condition: The Diné - Navajo Nation Tall Jar with Design Around Rim is in good shape for its age and use. There is a small chip on the rim.

Provenance: From the collection of a family from Colorado

Recommended Reading: Navajo Pottery, Traditions and Innovations by Russell P. Hartman and Jan Musial

The trademark rim design is the only decoration, but the patina of the piñon pitch over the years has added the appearance of fire cloud areas that enhance the subtle beauty.

  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Clay, piñon pitch
  • Size: 9” tall x 7” diameter
  • Item # C4034C
  • SOLD

C4034C-navajo.jpgC4034C-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.