54 JUNE 2014 MARIN
Ceramic Vessel, 1890–1910,
by Nampeyo, Hopi-Tewa, Arizona
This is a classic example of famed artist “Iris” Nampeyo, who
was born in 1860 and lived until 1942 in Hano Pueblo in Arizona.
Her mother was Hopi and her father was Tewa; she learned
her pottery skills from her paternal grandmother. Nampeyo’s
art bridges the gap between ancient (1500s) iconography and
methods and modern-day. Because of her popularity at the
time, she was also one of the most photographed potters in the
Southwest. She used local clays fired to around 1,000 degrees
Celsius, what we call “earthenware” temperature, and the motif
is of a tail of an eagle, with talons.
Water Jar, 1880–1900, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
The black-and-white line work on this 19th-century vessel evokes designs seen on vessels from a thousand years before, suggesting that artists in the late 19th century had
access to ancient objects. While the artist is unknown, this is a great example of what
we will be researching in the future. Do the motifs mean the same thing in different time
periods? It was probably used as a water jar, and it was made of earthenware.
Ute-style Wearing Blanket,
1840, Navajo, Southwest
This prized Navajo weaving was collected by George Horace Lorimer,
who lived from 1867 to1937 and was editor-in-chief of the Saturday
Evening Post. Lorimer was also an advocate for the rights of Native
Americans. This blanket was given to him during one of his frequent visits to the Navajo reservation in the early 20th century. The white and the
brown colors were not dyed; they were natural colors from sheep, which
were introduced by the Spanish in the last years of the 16th century. The
blue is from indigo, a trade item weavers were getting from the Spanish.