Rare Hopi Pueblo Traditional Historic Pottery Piki Bowl [SOLD]


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Pueblo Potter Unknown

This historic pottery bowl was made for holding the blue cornmeal used for making piki bread. Generally, Hopi piki bowls are not decorated, either on the interior or exterior.  They are strictly utilitarian.  Liquid blue corn is put in the bowl and the woman who is going to make piki bread is seated by a stone slab that is heated over a fire.  She runs her open hand over the liquid in the bowl and slides it across the heated stone.  Immediately the hot stone reacts with the liquid blue corn and a paper-thin blue sheet is peeled off the hot stone, rolled, and set aside.  This process is repeated for as long as it takes to make the number of piki she desires.

Piki (or piki bread) is rolled bread made by the Hopi with nixtamalized corn meal. Blue corn and culinary ash give it a dark grayish-blue color. The light, thin sheets are dry to the point of brittleness and have a delicate corn flavor. It is considered the Hopi version of the tortilla. Nixtamalization is a process for the preparation of maize (corn), or other grain, in which the corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater.

This piki bowl shows evidence of prior use for its intended purpose.  It dates to the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Rare Hopi Pueblo Traditional Historic Pottery Piki Bowl is from the estate of a previous client of ours who had impeccable taste and purchased accordingly.

Recommended Reading: Canvas of Clay: Seven Centuries of Hopi Ceramic Art by Edwin L. Wade and Allan Cooke

Relative Links: Hopi Pueblo, Historic Pueblo Pottery

Alternate view of the inside of this bowl.

Pueblo Potter Unknown
C4495N-bowl.jpgC4495N-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.