Legoria Tafoya Polished Blackware Bowl with Twisted Handles


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Legoria Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

The Artistry of Legoria Tafoya: A Study of a Polished Blackware

Crafted with exquisite precision by the renowned artisan, Legoria Tafoya of Santa Clara Pueblo, this polished blackware bowl is a testament to the timeless beauty of Pueblo blackware pottery. The bowl's form is smooth and shallow, exuding an elegant simplicity that is both humble and striking.

Two handles, meticulously fashioned from twisted clay coils, extend from the bowl's rim, forming graceful arches over circular openings. These handles, along with the bowl's interior and exterior, are polished to a high sheen, reflecting the artisan's attention to detail and dedication to her craft.

The bowl's interior is adorned with matte painted designs, centered around a dotted line that traverses the bowl's diameter from one handle to the other. On one side of this line, clouds and lightning are depicted, while plant elements grace the other side. This juxtaposition of elements perhaps suggests a symbolic representation of the rain that links the sky and earth together.

While the artist's exact intention remains a mystery, the resulting composition is undeniably captivating. The intricate designs, coupled with the bowl's polished finish, create a beautiful vessel that is as much a work of art as it is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Pueblo people.

Artist signature of Legoria Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo PotterThe bottom of the dish is signed Legoria, Sta Clara Pueblo.

Legoria Tafoya (1911-1984), painter Pablita Velarde, and potter Jane Baca were sisters. Legoria was the oldest and Pablita the youngest. Legoria devoted her career to making traditional black pottery in the Santa Clara Pueblo style, as did Baca. They were taught the art of pottery making by their grandmother in the 1930s. Legoria's early works were mostly animal figurines, which came to be extremely popular with tourists. She went on to become a celebrated potter, winning many awards and placing works in prominent collections. All three sisters exhibited at Enchanted Mesa Gallery in Albuquerque, which was owned by Fred and Margarete Chase.

Condition: good condition with a few very small abrasions

Provenance: this Legoria Tafoya Polished Blackware Bowl with Twisted Handles is from a private Colorado collection

Reference: Pueblo Indian Pottery: 750 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf

TAGS: Pablita VelardepotteryAlbuquerquefigurinesSanta Clara PuebloSanta FeLegoria Tafoya

Alternate view of this bowl from the side.


Legoria Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter
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