Gorgeous Carved Black Jar by Margaret Tafoya

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Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery Matriarch

Margaret Tafoya: The Matriarch of Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery

and Her Master Work Blackware Pottery

Crafted by the matriarch of Santa Clara Pueblo, Margaret Tafoya, this carved blackware jar is a testament to her mastery in pottery. The jar, with its low and wide shape, is a perfect example of Tafoya's attention to balance and symmetry. The absence of any discernible flaws is a hallmark of Tafoya's work, reflecting her high level of craftsmanship throughout her illustrious career.

The exterior of the bowl was polished to a high sheen, creating a softly reflective surface that enhances its visual appeal. A single band of carved design encircles the bowl, extending from an inch below the rim to the widest point of the bowl. The Avanyu, a traditional Tewa Pueblo design element, is carved in relief, encircling the entire bowl. Its lightning tongue extends to a pair of raised fins near the tail's tip, adding a dynamic element to the design. The jar's body curves inward towards the opening, allowing the design to be easily viewed. Tafoya's remarkable skill is evident in the precision and detail of the carved designs.

Santa Clara Pueblo artist signature of Margaret Tafoya (1904 - 2001), also known as Maria Margarita Tafoya or Corn BlossomThe jar is signed with Margaret Tafoya's signature on the bottom.

Margaret Tafoya (1904 - 2001), also known as Maria Margarita Tafoya or Corn Blossom, is revered as a master of Santa Clara Pueblo pottery. Her deeply carved blackware and redware vessels are highly prized by collectors. As one of the last matriarchs of early 20th-century Pueblo potters, Tafoya is renowned for her polished blackware pottery adorned with bear paw designs, a symbol of good luck. Born on August 13, 1904, at Santa Clara Pueblo, Tafoya developed her skills under the tutelage of her parents, Sara Fina Gutierrez Tafoya and Jose Geronimo Tafoya, who were expert potters themselves. Many of her pieces draw inspiration from the tales passed down by her parents and grandparents. Tafoya, along with her mother, was known for their ability to create unusually large storage jars and water jars. Her works have found a place in major museum collections worldwide, and she is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important Pueblo potters.


Condition: very good condition

Provenance: this Gorgeous Carved Black Jar by Margaret Tafoya is from the collection of a gentleman from Utah

Recommended Reading: Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya by Charles S. King

Reference of Tafoya Family tree and biographical information: Family Tree 1, page 137 of Pueblo Indian Pottery: 750 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf.

TAGS: Santa Clara PuebloSouthwest Indian PotterySara Fina Gutierrez Tafoya, Virginia EbelackerMela YoungbloodToni RollerLuAnn Tafoya

Close-up view of the water serpent.

Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery Matriarch
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