Gallery of Nampeyo Pottery

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Museum records indicate that Nampeyo made this canteen and gave it to Dr. Joshua Miller. A medical doctor, Miller came to Arizona in 1883 and spent many summers at Hopi providing health care to the people. He treated Nampeyo for trachoma, the eye condition that eventually led her to near blindness. This canteen is the only example of Polacca Polychrome pottery with a reliable Nampeyo attribution that one of her biographers Barbara Kramer was able to locate. The katsina depicted on this jar is Palhikmana or Water Bearing Maiden. 29.5 cm. diameter. (ASM #4099)

"Perhaps made by Nampae. Beautiful Specimen," reads the catalog card for this bowl that was among a large collection of Indian materials purchased by the Arizona State Museum from Nelle A. Dermont of Williams, Arizona in 1919. Edward S. Curtis photographed Nampeyo in 1906 with a very similar bowl at her side. The early phase of Nampeyo’s artistic life is not well documented, hence, "perhaps" is as close as we will likely ever get to know if this is indeed her bowl. 27.5 cm diameter. (ASM #8284)

Part of a large collection of Indian art donated to the Museum by heirs of Matthew Howell, this piece is attributed to Nampeyo. Howell was a traveling harness and saddlery salesman around the turn of the century who also for a time ran a trading post in Phoenix called Arizona Saddlery. Tucson Indian arts dealer Tom Bahti identified the jar as the work of Nampeyo; he based this identification on the "style and technique." The extremely finely rendered four-way design, similar to that on the previous jar and on the next one, is certainly one of Nampeyo's hallmarks. A date of around 1900-1910 is likely for this piece. 28.10 diameter. (ASM# E-8996)

This large squat jar, very similar to jar GP6217, was purchased from the Commercial Hotel in Holbrook in September of 1928 by the Gila Pueblo Foundation, whose entire collections came to ASM in the early 1950s. Neither is identified as the work of Nampeyo, but it is highly likely that they are both hers. Nampeyo was well known for making jars this shape, especially in the period around 1920. The painting could be that of her daughters, as her eyesight was greatly diminished by this time. The jar has remnants of an adhesive tag and the price of $50.00 pencilled on the base. This was a princely sum for Indian pottery at this time, indicating high collector regard for quality Hopi wares. 44 cm diameter. (ASM# GP6216)

Large polychrome olla with Hopi migration design, around 1930? ASM e792
Large olla with Hopi migration design, around 1930? ASM E-792

Perhaps our most spectacular Nampeyo work, this large olla was a gift to the museum by Mrs. Edward Danson. The jar had been purchased at Babbitt's Trading Post in Flagstaff in April of 1941, and had, according to accompanying records, been at the post for many years. Nampeyo's name along with "M 25.00" is written on the side of the jar near the base. If we can believe that $25.00 was the selling price, it is a sign of post-depression pricing that this jar appears to have sold for half of what a more modest jar (GP6216) may have sold for 13 years earlier. 50.5 cm diameter. (ASM# E-792)

"Polychrome jar, Hopi, Square top, made by Nampeyo." This unique jar came to the Arizona State Museum with the Gila Pueblo collections, with no other documentation but the above. It is the only piece in the collection that bears a Harvey Company "Made by Nampeyo-Hopi" tag. Most interesting is that the jar broke post-firing, and was repaired in a traditional fashion through drilling holes to either side of the break and binding the sides with sinew. The scale of this piece links it to jar GP6215. These immense high-shouldered vessels are thought to date to the 1920s, and possibly were made with the assistance of Nampeyo's relatives. diameter 49 cm. (ASM# GP52543)

Signed on the base "Nampeyo," probably by a relative, this bowl with a very faded design exemplifies the decline in quality of Hopi pottery during the 1920s when mass markets needed to be satisfied. Although anthropologist Ruth Bunzel, visiting Hopi in 1924 and 1925, found Nampeyo’s works to be "technically superior to that of any other Hopi potter," she found the overall quality of all Hopi wares, including Nampeyo’s, to be "abominable." While we know Nampeyo was still producing excellent work at this time, out of economic necessity she was providing for a two-tiered market, one for the general public and the other for more discriminating patrons. 14.5 cm diameter. (ASM #E-3655)

Donor Charles Morgan Wood made a note in pencil on the base of this jar, "Bought from Nampeyo by CMW Aug. 1923." It is noted in records to have been made by Nampeyo and painted by her daughter. The inclusion of prickly pear motifs is unusual. In the 1920s, swastikas found their way onto all forms of Indian arts, from pottery to textiles, jewelry, basketry and beadwork. This practice was quickly curtailed in the next decade when the symbol became associated with Nazism. Annie was known to incorporate swastikas into her works, so it is likely that she was the daughter who decorated this vessel. 20.5 cm diameter. (ASM #E-2031)

In July of 1926, Harold S. Gladwin, Director of Gila Pueblo Foundation in Globe, Arizona, purchased examples of the stages in pottery manufacture from Nampeyo. Included in the series is this bowl, the only example of red slipped ware by Nampeyo in the collection. It bears a central stylized bird design motif common to the late prehistoric Sikyatki wares21.3 cm diameter. (ASM# GP899-x-9)

This jar came to the museum as part of the Gila Pueblo collection. (Gila Pueblo was a research foundation in Globe, Arizona, whose collections were transferred to the Arizona State Museum in the 1950s). According to accompanying documentation, the jar was made by Nampeyo and was purchased in 1926 from Edward Ledwidge, a trader from El Paso. However, because so few Nampeyo pieces in the Polacca Polychrome style have been identified, and few photos of Nampeyo exist from this time period, it is difficult to speculate how likely it is that she actually made this jar. 37 cm. diameter. (ASM #GP913-x-1)

No documentation accompanied this exquisitely painted jar that the ASM received in 1951 as part of the Gila Pueblo Collection. The crisp, well executed rendering of a classic ancient design has led the Museum to attribute this piece to the Nampeyo family. This design appears on several pots that Nampeyo holds in photographs by Adam Clark Vroman in 1901, and also on a jar that rests in Nampeyo's lap in a Curtis portrait. The filled-in dots at the ends of the curl motifs on this jar, however, lead Barbara Kramer to believe that this is not Nampeyo's painting, but that of her daughter Fannie who favored this variation on the basic eagle tail design theme. 41 cm diameter. (ASM# GP52535-x-2)

The distinctive shape, the design execution and layout on this small version of the two previous pieces identify this as likely one of Nampeyo’s, or possibly an early jar by Fannie. The only information that accompanied the jar, bequeathed to the Museum by a Miss Leal Edmunds of North Dakota in 1968, is that it had belonged to her father. It likely also dates to around 1900-1910. By this time, the making of smaller pieces of pottery for sale was well underway. 14.4 cm diameter (ASM #80-45-2)

The Gila Pueblo Foundation, whose entire collections came to ASM in the early 1950s, purchased this large squat jar, one of a pair with GP6216, from the Commercial Hotel in Holbrook in September of 1928. Neither is identified as the work of Nampeyo, but it is highly likely that they are. Nampeyo was well known for making this shape of jar, especially in this period. This jar has a pattern that repeats 5 times around the perimeter, an accomplishment in asymmetry at which Nampeyo was particularly adept.  42 cm diameter. (ASM# GP6217)

Our largest piece attributed to Nampeyo is this jar that was purchased along with GP6216 and GP6217 from the Commercial Museum in Holbrook. It was purchased in September of 1928 by the Gila Pueblo Foundation and is listed as a Nampeyo piece on the catalog card. Given extensive use-wear to the piece, including drips and adhering paper on the interior that indicate its probable use as a trash receptacle, an estimated time of manufacture could easily predate 1928 by 5-10 years. A similar jar in a private collection located by Nampeyo scholar Barbara Kramer was attributed to Daisy Nampeyo (granddaughter of Nampeyo through Annie Healing). Daisy was born in 1906, and was in Paris until the late 1920s (see Kramer 1996: 205, for the fascinating account of Daisy’s early life), so she is unlikely to have made this jar. It may represent a collaborative effort with Nampeyo and a relative. One unique feature is a break in the line that encircles the neck. While such breaks are very common in Southwestern pottery, they are not typically found on Nampeyo’s pots. 53 cm diameter. (ASM# GP6215)

The corrugation on the neck of this jar has been said to represent a period where, due to her failing eyesight, Nampeyo began to experiment with different textures. Nampeyo’s granddaughter Dextra Nampeyo felt that the corrugation was simply an artistic experimentation. The names "J.R.Willis" and "Nampuyo" both appear on the base, added before the piece was fired. Willis, a photographer from Gallup during the ‘teens, photographed Nampeyo near her clan kiva around 1918. It is assumed that this jar was made and collected at this time. 25 cm diameter. (ASM #E-2273)

Although this exquisite jar has been attributed to Nampeyo, it was almost certainly painted by someone else. The elongated triangle motifs are often referred to as batwings, although the origin of this interpretation is unclear. The entire style with the hatched background is consistently referred to as a migration design, with the lines suggesting the paths taken by clans as they descended upon Hopi.

Nampeyo scholar Barbara Kramer has found that Nampeyo was less likely to render this design in the great detail that her two daughters later did, and notes that where a bar of diagonal lines appears in the wing design on this jar, Annie would  more likely have had dots. For this reason and due to the higher than average shoulder on the jar, Kramer puts her money on granddaughter Rachel as the painter.  37.5 cm diameter. (ASM #GP52534-x-2)

This "flying saucer" shaped bowl bears Nampeyo's name, painted on before it was fired. A gift of Miss Kathleen Carden in 1941, it was collected in 1934. Barbara Kramer points to a less "Nampeyo" design style and the large painted red areas in suggesting that this vessel was possibly painted by clan niece Lena Charlie of Hano. 21.5 cm diameter (ASM #E-719)

Bowl, GP899-x-8
Bowl, GP899-x-8

In July of 1926, Harold S. Gladwin, Director of Gila Pueblo Foundation in Globe, Arizona, purchased examples of the stages in pottery manufacture from Nampeyo. Included in the series is this bowl.  Although not an actual set per se, since several different shapes of pottery are represented, it does give a good idea of how the artist made her pottery. 21 cm diameter (ASM# GP899-x-8)