Hopi-Tewa Polychrome Jar with Katsina Face


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Fannie Polacca Nampeyo (1900-1987) Corn Clan

Nampeyo of Hano was probably the first Hopi-Tewa potter to paint Katsina imagery on 20th century pottery.  It is not unexpected, then, that her daughter, Fannie Polacca Nampeyo, would follow her mom’s tradition. Fannie Nampeyo was one of three daughters of Nampeyo and Lesou and the last of the three to pass away. It is for this reason that most collectors are familiar with her as she was actively making pottery in the mid- 20th century during the increase in popularity of pueblo pottery by collectors.

The imagery on this jar appears to be the face of a Katsina. The eyes are quite recognizable.   The parallel vertical lines under the eyes could represent warrior marks. The four vertical lines under the oval mouth at the bottom of the face probably represent a beard like that of the Long Hair Katsina.  Probably, it is not a specific katsina, but meant to represent the medium.

Artist Signature - Fannie Polacca Nampeyo (1900-1987) Corn ClanThis Southwest Indian Pottery jar has a warm gold patina from its many years of existence.  The yellow color of the clay has mellowed as has the red used in the design.  Often, the dark brown mineral paint rubs off on Hopi pottery but that has not happened on this jar.  Later in her career, Fannie would rub Vaseline on her pottery and polish it with nylon. I do not know if she did that as early as this jar seems to be but perhaps that is why the patina is so wonderful and the paint has survived so long.

The jar is signed Fannie Nampeyo and has the corn clan hallmark on the underside.

Condition: this Hopi-Tewa Polychrome Jar with Katsina Face is in very good condition

Provenance: from the inherited collection of a family from Washington State.

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

Fannie Polacca Nampeyo (1900-1987) Corn Clan
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