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Hopi Polacca Polychrome Bowl with Hanging Lug

C4104E-bowl.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 2” deep x 8-⅛” diameter
  • Item # C4104E
  • Price: $1,695.00

This Polacca Polychrome bowl is most certainly one made in the 1890s as an item intended for sale.  It has a lug on the back side from which it can be hung on a wall, something for which a Hopi would have no use.  The design features elements of rain, rain clouds, and tail feathers.

The Hopi call their ancestors Hisatsinam, “People of Long Ago.”  Most others refer to them as Anasazi.  The Hopi ancestors were making pottery as long ago as A.D. 700.  They made black-on-white, black-on-red, and, eventually, Polychrome.  The Polychrome wares started around 1740, became the predominant utilitarian style around 1800, and continued being used until the  1890s, being known as Polacca Polychrome.

Collectors developed an interest in pottery from the Hopi Mesas in the late 1800s, resulting in a revival period for Hopi pottery, spearheaded by Nampeyo and other First Mesa potters.  Early pottery of this period by Nampeyo was in the Polacca Polychrome style, prior to her revival of Sikyatki-inspired pottery.

This Polacca Polychrome bowl is most certainly one made in the 1890s as an item intended for sale.  It has a lug on the back side from which it can be hung on a wall, something for which a Hopi would have no use.  The design features elements of rain, rain clouds, and tail feathers.

The white kaolin slip used during the Polacca Polychrome phase tended to craze.  It did not seem to be compatible with the natural clay body from which the vessel was made. It is the crazing that facilitates identification of Polacca Polychrome pottery. Early Polacca Polychrome pottery evidences influences from New Mexico Keresan Pueblos.  Later, influences from Zuni appeared in designs. According to Dr. Ed Wade, the later period of these wares (1890-1900) showed much experimentation in shape and design, some of which were revivals of Prehistoric pottery shapes.


Condition: very good condition for its age

Provenance: from a gentleman in Santa Fe

Recommended Reading: Canvas of Clay: Seven Centuries of Hopi Ceramic Art by Wade and Cooke

The white kaolin slip used during the Polacca Polychrome phase tended to craze.  It did not seem to be compatible with the natural clay body from which the vessel was made.  It is the crazing that facilitates identification of Polacca Polychrome pottery.