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Very Old Nampeyo Hopi Pottery Bowl

C3961-bowl.jpg

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Nampeyo of Hano (1857-1942)
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Hopi Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 2-1/4” deep x 8-3/4” diameter
  • Item # C3961
  • Price: $2,200.00

Side View

“Nampeyo carrying an olla/” Adam Clark Vroman, 1901.  (The Southwest Museum, Los Angeles.  Photo #N22764.)  Nampeyo posed for Vroman inside her home with a typical canteen carried by women to carry water from the spring below the mesa.  Photo part of public domain.

In the 1880s, Nampeyo was one of many unknown potters making vessels to sell to museum collectors.  Like other women, she collected clay from her favorite location, picked up shards from prehistoric wares, and hauled water from the spring down below up to the mesa top. Adam Clark Vroman photographed Nampeyo in 1901 with a large water canteen on her back with a strap over her forehead.  Some days, she made four trips down the mesa to the spring for water.

We have a canteen at the gallery like the one photographed with Nampeyo (click here to view now).  Its empty weight is 12 pounds.  Filled with water, it weighs 29 pounds.

Image: Nampeyo of Hano on the right with her daughter Fannie on the left - ca. 1930, courtesy of Rick Dillingham Fourteen Families In Pueblo Pottery.It was perhaps 1900 before Nampeyo was recognized for her talents as a major potter.  Thomas Keam recognized just how creative she was and he began commissioning her to make special orders, for him to fill increasing orders from museums.

This bowl is an early one, executed in brown pigment on the yellow background color.  What we see later in Nampeyo’s bowl designs had its premiere in this one, that is, an anchor design at the top with the prime design suspended below.  The anchor design in this bowl is the rectangle with double rows of triangles and parallel lines.  Above that are three feathers in the center and a pair of hook elements at the corners.

Suspended from the anchor design is a box with finger-like protrusions.  The dramatic design starts at this box and swoops down and around in a beautiful curve, thinning as it continues its swoop.  On the left is a similar design that curves dramatically as it swoops.  At the upper end of each of these are three cloud elements.

There is a paper label on the back of the type placed by early merchants.  There is no information remaining on the label.There are two framing lines.  The inner one is a thin line and the outer one is quite wide.  There are four groups of three brown dots on the rim top, equally spaced.

There is a paper label on the back of the type placed by early merchants.  There is no information remaining on the label.

Condition:  one chip on inner rim

Provenance: this Very Old Nampeyo Hopi Pottery Bowl is from a gentleman from Oregon

Reference and Recommended Reading: Nampeyo and Her Pottery by Barbara Kramer.

Image: Nampeyo of Hano on the right with her daughter Fannie on the left - ca. 1930, courtesy of Rick Dillingham Fourteen Families In Pueblo Pottery.

Alternate inside view designs of this bowl.