Santa Clara Pueblo Large Blackware Wedding Vase by Margaret Tafoya [SOLD]


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Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

Margaret Tafoya's Masterpiece: The Majestic Blackware Wedding Vase

The blackware wedding vase under discussion is a testament to the artistic prowess of Margaret Tafoya, a Santa Clara Pueblo potter. Tafoya is celebrated as one of the most influential Native artists of the twentieth century. This particular piece, dating back to the 1960s, stands out due to its impressive size. Towering at twenty-one inches, it commands attention and exudes an undeniable presence, even amidst a collection of exceptional pots.

However, it's not just the size that makes this piece remarkable. The true brilliance lies in the quality of the work. The vase is a paragon of form and design. Its expansive lower section mirrors the shape of a slightly enlarged pueblo olla. As the shoulder of the vase gracefully curves inward, two lofty spouts ascend, angling subtly outward. An arch seamlessly connects the two spouts, culminating in the traditional pueblo form known as a wedding vase. The execution of this design is robust, harmonious, and strikingly appealing. The vase is polished to perfection, a characteristic trait of Tafoya's works, which adds to its allure with each viewing.

Adding to the visual interest is a horizontal carved band that encircles the vessel at its broadest point. From beneath the outer edge of each spout, a more intricate carved pattern ascends from the horizontal band. This pattern, repeated twice, forms a series of right-angled turns, creating kiva step patterns. Near the center, the bands curve upward and outward before retracing their path, crafting robust central elements that also incorporate kiva step patterns. The symmetrical nature of the carved designs echoes that of the vessel itself, with each element mirrored elsewhere in reverse, contributing to the overall impression of the piece. When one studies this magnificent example of Margaret Tafoya's work, the words that resonate are strength, elegance, and beauty.

The bottom of the vase is signed Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara, N. Mex (see below).

Margaret Tafoya (1904 - 2001) Corn Blossom was born August 13, 1904, at Santa Clara Pueblo.  Margaret learned her skills from her parents, Sara Fina Gutierrez Tafoya and Jose Geronimo Tafoya, who were expert potters. Margaret and her mother were known for their ability to make unusually large storage jars and water jars. She believed the secret to her technique was her polishing stones, which have been passed down through the generations. She taught many of her nine children how to make pottery.  Virginia Ebelacker, Mela Youngblood, Toni Roller, LuAnn Tafoya, and Esther Archuleta are among the long list of Tafoya’s descendants who are or were successful potters. In 1985, Tafoya was one of three New Mexicans selected to receive the Governor's Award, New Mexico's highest artistic honor, awarded for a major contribution to the arts of New Mexico. Her works are included in prominent museum collections worldwide, and she is often listed among the most influential Native artists.

What is the Purpose of a Wedding Vase?

Condition: excellent condition 

Provenance: this Santa Clara Pueblo Large Blackware Wedding Vase by Margaret Tafoya is from the estate of an Albuquerque resident where it was displayed in her home’s nicho for over 40 years.  What is a nicho?  This is a Spanish word. It is a hollow or cavity in a wall, especially the one that serves to contain a statue, an image, ornament, or pottery vessel.

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

TAGS: Santa Clara PuebloSara Fina Gutierrez Tafoya, Virginia EbelackerMela YoungbloodToni RollerLuAnn TafoyaMargaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter
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