Nampeyo of Hano bowl with bird motif, circa 1905


“The painted design is classic Nampeyo, and in fact, there is a similar bowl also by Nampeyo in the permanent collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum that is the match to this bowl.  Both bowls show the classic heavy black double framing lines around the elaborate abstracted bird design in the center.  Under a polished red sky band, the spirit bird dangles its beauty to please the Hopi deities.  At the top of the design, we see the classic triangular accordion shapes of the kachina’s lightening frame ending in a large bird’s wing, a frequent Nampeyo design element.  Beneath, we see the bird’s body with its interior nicely abstracted, while three tail feathers complete the vertical design.  To the sides, elaborate feathers are presented.  Interestingly, the classic swirl design that Nampeyo originally borrowed from the prehistoric Sikyatki potters and which dominated much of her early work is here reduced almost to an afterthought and used only as a small portion of her design on the right side of the bird.  But it is this shift of focus that dates this piece to Nampeyo’s mature period, from 1910 to 1920, when she has integrated the great Sikyatki designs into her work and is producing fluid masterful painting from her own genius, surpassing her original models.”  Steve Elmore Indian Art

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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