|Document of Analysis by Edwin l. Wade, ph.d.|
"An Exceptional Nampeyo Polychrome Jar Incorporating San Bernardo Polychrome Design Elements. C. 1915 - 1920.
Old habits die hard, and that’s no different in art history than it is in everyday life. As I have noted in other publications, the labeling of Nampeyo’s art style as “Sikyatki Revival” is far too restrictive. She freely experimented with numerous prehistoric and historic design traditions incorporating elements of their composition and motifs into her art.
No better example of this than the wonderful jar pictured above. As seen in these comparisons its clear that Nampeyo was modeling this composition upon the ancient ware San Bernardo Polychrome (AD 1625 - 1740).
The first iteration of San Bernardo saw Tewa influence in design from the Rio Grande Pueblos. The two-pronged feather is indicative and is modified in Nampeyo’s jar as is the recurved crook in red and black on the interior of the bowl. The diagonal shift and stacking of designs in the composition is a precursor to Payupki Polychrome (AD 1680 - 1780) a Hopi ceramic type modeled after similar pottery in shape and layout to the Keresan vessels from Zia Pueblo.
Nampeyo has achieved a remarkable assimilation of this ancient tradition while also displaying her own interpretation in this jar. This is anything but a copy of an old pot but rather a vibrant genesis of the past fused with the future. Very few Nampeyos exhibit San Bernardo influence and this vessel is the premier example. It’s intriguing to speculate where she saw the ancient model for her jar, but sadly we will never know.
One can only wish she had pursued this compositional style since it is among the most compelling, pleasing and sophisticated of her genus.
Edwin L Wade. "
A formal document from Dr. Wade as well as additional comparative photographs are included with the documents.
The jar is a fine interpretation of a San Bernardo Polychrome with its unique split feather motifs, diagonal motifs, and overall composition.
|Location of Origin: North America|
|Medium/Materials: Hand coiled clay pottery|
|Dimensions: 9 1/8 x 16 1/4 inches|
|Primary Classification: Arts of the American West : Native American Pottery|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : Native American Clothing and Antiques|
|Provenance: Purchased from the daughter of the original collector, whom moved from Texas to Albuquerque NM around 1910. Family lore relates her father said he bought if from a ""very old Indian lady"".|
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