Hopi-Tewa Brown Duck Effigy Jar


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Thomas Polacca Nampeyo (1935-2003)

Thomas Polacca was a very talented potter from a very talented family of potters. He was the grandson of Nampeyo of Hano and the son of Fannie Nampeyo. He started making pottery around 1955, at which time he produced traditional Sikyatki revival style so popular with the Nampeyo family. Eventually he developed a unique style incorporating Sikyatki design elements but in a non-traditional manner.

He formed pottery in the traditional coil method. The basic vessel was slipped in an apparent rag-wiped light tan slip revealing various shades of the color. The design was carved into the clay using a variety of techniques—deep carving for the outlines, shallow carving for details, and incising for highlights. He then used basic vegetal and mineral paints in rust, brown and tan colors as his palette.

Thomas Polacca Nampeyo (1935-2003) signatureIn this exquisite vessel, dated 1983, he perched a duck with wings spread over a round ball of clay.  Viewed from the back, the wings fan out and nearly touch their tips. The tail feathers flow behind the jar.  On the front, encircled by wing feathers is a circular design with feathers nearly touching. The jar is basically tan, cream, dark brown, and with a slight hint of red.  It was signed and dated by the artist.

Thomas Polacca taught his three children to make pottery in the same style as he was making.  The children continue to do so today.

Condition: this Hopi-Tewa Brown Duck Effigy Jar is in excellent condition

Provenance: from a Southwest Indian Pottery collection from Texas family

Reference: Hopi-Tewa Pottery 500 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf

Thomas Polacca Nampeyo (1935-2003)
C4136C-duck.jpgC4136C-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.