Shapes and Forms: Sculptural Pieces

Carved architectural, buff-colored piece
Buff carved architectural piece
Al Qoyawayma, Hopi

12.75 in H by 8.25 in Dia
Insect and geometric design on a square, lidded polychrome jar
Square polychrome lidded jar with two geometric cutouts and flying insect and geometric design
Charmae Natseway, Acoma

5.25 in H by 6.5 in Dia
Santo Domingo Mission Church
Santo Domingo Mission
Ambrose Atencio
6.75 in H by 7 in W by 8.5 in L
Geometric design on a polychrome stylized bird effigy
Polychrome stylized bird effigy jar decorated with a geometric design, by Elias Pena, Mata Ortiz
6.75 in h by 5.25 in Dia
Measurement includes stand

Sculptural pieces may seem to be a relatively new phenomenon in the world of Native American pottery but there are many ancient artifacts that point to sculptures being incorporated into functional pieces. For instance, I've come across pieces from Laguna based on ancient shards that incorporate a bighorn ram's head sculpture into the handle. The bighorn ram was a major influence in their lives back then: bighorn rams made for excellent game and they lived nearby on the slopes of Mount Taylor.

The Tewa pueblos of Santa Clara and San Ildefonso have a thing for the black bear. The Santa Clarans tell a story of time during severe drought when someone from the village followed a bear into the forest and came to a good spring. They attribute that bear with saving the tribe. Ever since the black bear has had a special significance for them and they make black bear sculptures in its honor.

The potters of Mata Ortiz are constantly pushing the boundaries of what they can do with their clay. They also draw on a tradition reaching back more than 500 years to a time when figures and sculptural pieces were made for ceremonial purposes.

Geometric design on a polychrome organic shape
A polychrome organic shape decorated with a geometric design, by Diego Valles, Mata Ortiz
15 in H by 8.75 in Dia
Measurement includes stand
Heishe and arrowhead with inlaid turquoise on a polished red bear
Polished red bear with heishe and arrowhead plus inlaid turquoise, by Tony Da, San Ildefonso
1.5 in H by 2.25 in Dia
A kiva ladder descends into the cut opening of a pueblo-sculpted white jar
A white jar with a cut opening, sculpted pueblo design and wooden kiva ladder, by Wilfred Garcia, Acoma
15.75 in H by 8.25 in Dia
Dancer, ear of corn and geometric design carved, etched and painted on a polychrome jar
Polychrome jar decorated with carved, sgraffito and painted dancer, ear of corn and geometric design, by Thomas Polacca, Hopi
6.25 in H by 7.5 in Dia

Shapes and Forms