Polychrome Seed Pot with Rabbit and Quail Designs


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Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist

This miniature seed pot was created by Santa Clara Pueblo potter Joseph Lonewolf. It was made in 1985, long after Lonewolf popularized and mastered the sgraffito style seen here. Lonewolf had worked in this style for many years when he created this piece. It is obvious that, at this point in his career, he was working at a high level creatively and technically.

Rather than center his designs around the top of the pot, Lonewolf formed a scene that faces to one side. In its center, a Mimbres rabbit appears. A pair of quail appear, with one on each side of the rabbit, reaching up and arching over the rabbit. On the back half of the pot, the beautifully polished red slip rises almost to the top, with butterflies, flowers and a star design carved gently and precisely into the surface. Lonewolf enhanced the remarkable composition with white, green, and light blue pigments, adding depth and energy. This piece is modest in size but ambitious in execution.

Artist signature of Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo PotterThe bottom of the pot is signed Joseph Lonewolf, marked with the artist's hallmark wolf face, numbered N1QRCM, and dated 85.

Joseph Lonewolf (1932 - 2014) was an artist from Santa Clara Pueblo. Lonewolf was a nephew of Margaret Tafoya. He started a career as a mechanic and then became a trained machinist, making precision parts with fine engraving. It was this skill that he transferred from mechanical objects to precision-carved pottery. In 1971, Lonewolf returned to Santa Clara Pueblo and put his skills to making pottery as had been taught to him by his mother, Agapita Silva Tafoya. His father, Camilio Tafoya, had taken him as a child into the mountains where he witnessed petroglyphs carved into caves and on walls of cliffs. Lonewolf took the lessons of his mother and field trips with his father and combined the two to arrive at intricately carved designs on pottery.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Polychrome Seed Pot with Rabbit and Quail Designs is from a private collection

Reference and Recommended Reading: The Pottery Jewels of Joseph Lonewolf by Jon Young. 1975 Dandick Publications

TAGS: Margaret Tafoya,  Santa Clara PueblopotteryAgapita Silva TafoyaCamilio TafoyaRick DillinghamJoseph Lonewolf

Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist
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