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Manuel Vigil (1900 – 1990)

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Manuel and Eliza R Vigil | Tesuque Pueblo | Southwest Indian Pottery | Figurines | Nacimiento | signature

Manuel Vigil is probably the best-known potter of the 20th century from Tesuque Pueblo. He learned to make pottery by the age of seven by watching his mother make pottery. He specialized throughout his career in making figurine pieces. He is credited with being the first Native American to make Nacimientos (Nativity sets). Pueblo dance figures were a favorite of his. Later, he made storyteller figurines.


Following an accident in 1948, when a hit-and-run driver ran over him, Manuel lost one leg to amputation. His wife, Vicenta, encouraged him to get back into arts and crafts while he recuperated. He and Vicenta started making pottery together. He would make figurines of pueblo dancers and she would paint them and even make clothing for them. They continued this collaborative effort throughout the remainder of his life. 



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