Santa Clara Pueblo Large Carved Blackware Pottery Jar with Avanyu by Elizabeth Naranjo

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Elizabeth Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

This blackware pottery jar by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Elizabeth Naranjo has a powerful presence.  At 16 inches in height, it is the largest piece we have seen from this respected artist.  It is a somewhat modern take on a traditional Santa Clara vessel form.  At its widest point, it reaches just over one foot, before curving inward and then up to its tall neck.  This vessel is elegant and beautiful in every way.  It has found a temporary home on a pedestal in our gallery’s front room.  Across the room, on another pedestal, there is a similarly sized Margaret Tafoya jar.  The two jars look great together because Naranjo’s jar feels like a natural evolution of the famous Santa Clara matriarch’s work.

Rather than increasing the amount of design elements to cover the large vessel, Naranjo wisely chose to expand the scale of a few classic design elements to suit the jar’s impressive size. Her primary design element is an Avanyu figure that circles the jar’s widest point.  Above it, a band of rectangular spirals circles the jar’s shoulder.  From the carved area that defines these spirals, vertical lines emerge, forming feather designs around the jar’s long neck. The carving is consistently precise throughout, and the jar’s polished surface is perfectly smooth, glossy, and reflective.  This jar is an exemplary piece of contemporary Santa Clara blackware.

The jar’s bottom is signed “Elizabeth Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo.”

Santa Clara Pueblo potter Elizabeth Naranjo was born in 1929. She was the daughter of Pablita Chavarria and Jose Chavarria of Santa Clara Pueblo. She was an exceptional potter who won many awards for her work. Her sisters Clara Shije, Reycita Naranjo, Florence Browning and Mary Singer, are also potters of distinction.  She had a long career, producing many beautiful pottery vessels over the years. Every pottery piece we’ve seen by the artist has been exceptional. Even small bowls, which some may consider insignificant, illustrate her attention to detail. Naranjo passed away in 2017.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Santa Clara Pueblo Large Carved Blackware Pottery Jar with Avanyu by Elizabeth Naranjo is from a private New Mexico collection

Recommended Reading: Pueblo Indian Pottery 750 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf

Relative Links: Santa Clara PuebloPablita ChavarriaSanta Clara PuebloReycita NaranjoFlorence BrowningMary SingerContemporary Southwest Indian PotteryElizabeth Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

Artist Signature - Elizabeth Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

Elizabeth Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter
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