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Male and Female Pair of Cochiti Pueblo Squash Dancers [SOLD]

C3868L-paint.jpg

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Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: tempera
  • Size:
    11-3/4” x 7-1/4” each image;
    12-1/2” x 8-1/4” each framed separately
  • Item # C3868L
  • SOLD

A RARE signature of Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah

A few of Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah's works, painted in 1922 and 1923, were signed:

          Tonita P. Arquero

as on this Male and Female Pair of Cochiti Pueblo Squash Dancers, in honor of her husband, Epitacio Arquero. This signature is quite rare.

 

Tonita Peña labeled each of these paintings on verso Cochiti Pueblo Squash Dance $5.00.  Whether the Squash Dance is still being performed a hundred years after these paintings were completed is not publicly known.

 

Tonita Peña – Image Source:  from the book Tonita Peña by Samuel L. Gray.  Photo by T. Harmon Parkhurst.  Museum of New Mexico Fine Arts Collection, negative #46988.

Each of the dancers shown here is beautifully rendered.  The female is wearing an exquisitely embroidered white dress, white moccasins with wrapped leggings, a white shawl with black and red edges, and a multi-strand nugget necklace with three pair of jaclas suspended.  She also wears jaclas as earrings, carries a bundle of evergreen in one hand and a white disc in the other.  The male, too, is exquisitely rendered in his embroidered kilt with a white rain sash hanging down his right side and a fox tail hanging down his back.  He has an enormous evergreen bundle hanging around his neck and carries another in his left hand.    He has a black gourd rattle in his right hand and a spread of feathers tied in his hair.

 

Ina Sizer Cassidy commented on Tonita in an article in New Mexico Magazine in 1933: “I have watched Tonita Peña of Cochiti, for instance, with watercolors and virgin paper, absorbed in materializing her concepts of the ceremonial dances and I have watched her plastering the walls of her adobe home, small palms outspread smoothing the velvety brown mud over the surface with care and creative concentration.  I have also watched her in the ceremonial dances in the plaza, her consecrated hands waving evergreen wands, rhythmically keeping time to the measured beat of the drum, and tread of her bare feet on the hot earth, and there is in all of these activities the same creative aesthetic quality which has made her one of the outstanding Indian painters of New Mexico, and I believe the only Indian woman to attain distinction in this newly revived expression.”

 

Tonita Peña had a busy life teaching classes, raising children, taking care of the house and husband, and yet found time to produce paintings.

 

Condition: both appear in excellent condition.  Cardboard has been removed from the back of the frame and acid-free foam core substituted.  There is no mat on either painting, leaving the full exposure of the paper on which each is painted.

Provenance: from the collection of a gentleman from Santa Fe

Recommended Reading: Tonita Peña by Sam Gray

Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: tempera
  • Size:
    11-3/4” x 7-1/4” each image;
    12-1/2” x 8-1/4” each framed separately
  • Item # C3868L
  • SOLD

C3868L-paint.jpgC3868L-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.