Hopi Jar with the Migration Pattern by Fannie Nampeyo


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Fannie Polacca Nampeyo, Hopi-Tewa Potter

Fannie Nampeyo's Master Work: A Testament to Hopi Tradition and Craftsmanship

This exquisite polychrome jar, a creation of Hopi potter Fannie Nampeyo, is a testament to the rich tradition of Sikyatki designs. The “migration pattern,” symbolizing the journey of the Hopi people through four worlds, was a recurring motif in Fannie’s work. This piece showcases one of the finest renditions of the migration pattern, reflecting Fannie’s exceptional craftsmanship.

The jar’s form is remarkable, boasting a well-balanced and symmetrical structure with a broad collar rim. Its color palette is dominated by a stunning tan, interspersed with spots of near-orange hues. The primary design element is a broad band of the migration pattern, detailed with precise and consistent lines. This design band is framed by bold, dark brown framing lines above and below, creating a striking contrast. The blend of shape, design, and color culminates in a quintessential Fannie Nampeyo jar.

Artist signature of Fannie Polacca Nampeyo, Hopi-Tewa PotterThe piece bears the signature Ⓒ Nampeyo 1974 Fannie. It is commonly believed that when Fannie placed ‘Nampeyo’ before ‘Fannie,’ it indicated that the pottery was crafted by her mother, Nampeyo of Hano, and signed on her behalf by Fannie. However, this jar, dated 1974, contradicts that belief, as it was crafted by Fannie herself, not her mother.

Fannie Polacca Nampeyo (1900-1987), a Hopi-Tewa potter, was the daughter of Nampeyo of Hano and Lesou. She had two sisters, Annie Healing Nampeyo and Nellie Douma Nampeyo, all members of the Corn Clan. Lesou belonged to the Tobacco Clan, but clan lineage is matrilineal. Fannie was the mother of seven childrenThomas, Elva, Tonita, Iris, Leah, Harold, and Ellsworthall of whom followed in her footsteps as potters.

Fannie’s talent was recognized in 1961 when she won her first Blue Ribbon at the annual Hopi Show organized by the Museum of Northern Arizona. Her pottery was featured in several museum exhibits in the 1990s. Being the youngest daughter of Nampeyo and Lesou, Fannie was personally known to many collectors, most of whom never had the chance to meet Annie or Nellie. Fannie continued to create pottery until the mid-1980s. She passed away in 1987, leaving behind a rich legacy in the world of pottery.

Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Hopi Jar with the Migration Pattern by Fannie Nampeyo is from the collection of a Santa Fe resident

Recommended Reading: The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and her Descendants by Mary Ellen and Laurence Blair

TAGS: Hopi PuebloNampeyo of HanoAnnie Healing NampeyoNellie Nampeyo DoumaThomasElvaTonitaIrisLeahContemporary PotteryFannie Polacca Nampeyo


Fannie Polacca Nampeyo, Hopi-Tewa Potter
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