Hopi-Tewa Polychrome Pottery Canteen by Corn Woman

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Lena Chio Charlie, Hopi-Tewa Potter
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 9” bottom to spout;
    8-¾” handle to handle;
    7-¾” back to pointed tip
  • Item # C4382C
  • Price: $2400

This Hopi-Tewa Polychrome Pottery Canteen by Corn Woman is a striking piece of work by a master potter.  The pottery canteen’s shape and design could be interpreted in a couple different ways.  The vessel shape is quite like a gourd with the pointed protrusion.  Gourds are and have been used as water containers, so the resemblance could be intentional.  A second version, based on the painted design, is that it represents a katsina.  The pointed protrusion represents the snout.  Above that are two black rectangular bars that represent the eyes and the black triangles outlined in white represent feathers.  All of this is speculative as the intent of the potter is unknown.  It is often tempting to attribute designs with white outlining to Annie Healing Nampeyo but other potters are known to have used it as well—Garnet Pavatea and Lena Chio Charlie being two who did.

Artist hallmark corn symbol - Lena Chio Charlie (1888-1978) Corn WomanAccording to the Museum of Northern Arizona, Lena Chio Charlie’s known dates of production were 1933-1961. The Arizona State Museum states that she was a clan niece of Nampeyo of Hano and sometimes painted Nampeyo’s pottery.  Maurice M. Bloom, Jr, a former Albuquerque appraiser, said that she was a granddaughter of Nampeyo and Lesou and the daughter of their oldest son, Qoo-ma-lets-tewa who died in 1918.  As is obvious, there is some confusion regarding her relationships.   Other than these comments, there is little published information on her.  She signed her pottery with a corn symbol, as on this canteen, rather than with her name.  Many potters use hallmarks rather than personal names because of the typical Pueblo reticence to identify individuals, or because of their unfamiliarity with English script. 

There seems to be some question regarding her date of birth and date of death.  One source states  (1888-1978) and another (ca.1908-ca.1960s).  Again, Maurice Bloom said she married her second husband, Charlie Chio, in 1928, which would have made her either 20 or 40 years old at that time.  Either age could be logical.  We invite anyone with more definitive information to contact us. 

Lena Chio Charlie (ca.1908-ca.1960s) Corn Woman was a member of the Corn Clan, as was Nampeyo of Hano. She was a sister of Irene Shupla and cousins of Sadie Adams, Patty Maho, Ruth Paymella and grandmother to famed Hopi-Tewa artist Neil David, Sr.

Her pottery is desirable by collectors for its high quality and warm orange glow. Her designs are beautifully conceived and executed. She often used stippling, in the style of Nampeyo of Hano, as seen on this canteen. She was a master potter and painter of pottery.  Her designs generally covered most of the surface of the vessel.  Design elements abut design elements.  There was no scarcity of effort by her to present a beautiful finished product.  This canteen is an excellent example of her fine workmanship.


Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Hopi-Tewa Polychrome Pottery Canteen by Corn Woman is from the collection of a resident of Santa Fe

Recommended Reading: Identification Marks on Hopi and Hopi-Tewa Pottery by Michael B. Stanislawski, et. al. Museum of Northern Arizona, Plateau, volume 48, No. 3-4, Spring 1976

Relative Links: Nampeyo of Hano, Irene Shupla, Neil David, Katsina Doll, Annie Nampeyo, Fannie Nampeyo, Southwest Indian Pottery, Lena Chio Charlie - Corn Woman

Alternate view of this canteen.
Lena Chio Charlie, Hopi-Tewa Potter
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 9” bottom to spout;
    8-¾” handle to handle;
    7-¾” back to pointed tip
  • Item # C4382C
  • Price: $2400

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