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Hopi-Tewa Pottery Figurine of a Koshare or Hano Clown [SOLD]

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Pueblo Potter Unknown

The Koshari is probably one of the best known of Hopi clowns, however,  he is not Hopi by origin but is from the New Mexico *Tewa Pueblos. The Koshari most likely arrived at Hopi with the Tewa immigrants in the early eighteenth century.  He has been adopted by Hopi so exclusively that he is now seen at all the Hopi Pueblo villages. The avowed purpose of these clowns is to amuse, but their humor is concerned with what is not an accepted way of life for the Hopi.

This pottery figurine is of a Koshare or Hano Clown as seen at all the Hopi villages.  Pottery figurines such as this one were most likely made by the Hopi-Tewa potters at the suggestion of trader Thomas Keam.  He was instrumental in guiding the women potters to make items he thought would appeal to tourists and even to museum curators.  He obviously considered that a figurine in the likeness of the lovable clown would appeal to visitors who had seen such during a plaza dance.

This figurine dates to the period of the late 1800s to early 1900s.  The figurine is presented in the striped body paint that is traditional.  It is provided with a stand for display purposes.


Condition: this Hopi-Tewa Pottery Figurine of a Koshare or Hano Clown is in excellent condition

Provenance: from a major private collection of Hopi and Hopi-Tewa articles.

Recommended Reading:

America’s Great Lost Expedition: The Thomas Keam Collection of Hopi Pottery from the Second Hemenway Expedition, 1890-1894 by Edwin Wade, et al.

- Clowns of the Hopi: Tradition Keepers and Delight Makers by Barton Wright

*Tewa or Tano: one of three Kiowa-Tanoan languages spoken by the Pueblo people of New Mexico. Though these three languages are closely related, speakers of one cannot fully understand speakers of another. The six Tewa-speaking pueblos are NambePojoaqueSan IldefonsoSan JuanSanta Clara, and Tesuque.