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You submitted the following rating and review. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Continue shopping. Item s unavailable for purchase. The canon also perpetuated standards that placed hurdles in the careers of innovators and modest potters who simply disagreed. Hardin observes that potters like the Nahohai family had to overcome potentially crippling categories by which dealers and administrators judged Zuni pottery at the great Santa Fe Indian Markets previously called Fairs into the s. Traditional outdoor firing was a common request.
Old and New Traditions: Pueblo Context For more than a century Pueblo potters have preserved, recaptured, or created traditions, often under the surveillance of connoisseurs and critics. They have increasingly developed and altered traditions through individual choice rather than from ignorance of alternatives. Much of this evolution has been undeniably market-based.
As we will see at Zuni, however, the market is not entirely external nor is the choice of designs so controlled by outsiders. First, modern developments at selected other Pueblos provide some context for individuals and families engaging with a cash economy while sustaining Pueblo identity, often on their own terms.
Most famous is Nampeyo ca. Polacca Polychrome wares were influenced by later Zuni pottery, or at least the two shared motifs, and the wares had become standard for Hopi and Tewa people on the Arizona mesas circa — The market for her pottery fluctuated, and she lived a modest life on the mesa, without modern amenities or command of the English language. She founded a dynasty of potters who have continued working in her revival style and retained her name into the fifth and sixth generations. Near Santa Fe, Maria Martinez — and her husband Julian — made the first eastern Pueblo pottery widely recognized as art.
In — they began making smooth-surfaced, black-on-black pottery blackware by smothering their manure-fueled fire to create a reduction atmosphere. Before firing, Maria burnished the body to a high gloss, and Julian painted it with black slip, drawing on diverse ancestral and contemporary Native American sources, including Zuni and Hano Polychrome. Making some of their blackware as plates and other European-American forms increased its desirability in the popular market. Maria, her family, and her followers, as well as the Tafoya family at Santa Clara, have made great quantities of refined black pottery, which continues to appeal to buyers with urbane and often Modernist taste.
This provided a model for other matriarchs and their families, among them that of Lucy M. Lewis at Acoma. Never in the twentieth century did Acoma pottery slip from the public view, and there have long been more potters from Acoma than any other Pueblo. Within that context, though, Lucy M. At mid-century she employed a number of painted designs inspired by or borrowed from precontact Mimbres, Tularosa, and Hohokam pottery, as well as nineteenth-century Zuni Polychrome, all of which she saw in publications and in Santa Fe museum collections.
Mimbres is especially worthy of brief explanation because it became such a recurring influence on Southwest potters when it was excavated in the twentieth century. Mimbres women were part of the larger Mogollan group and lived in present-day Southwestern New Mexico from about to Many talented Pueblo women worked successfully without fame and generous income. The style of Santa Ana pottery diverged in the nineteenth century from that of nearby Zia to production of bowls and globular jars painted with robust abstract motifs.
There was little market for new Santa Ana pottery in the early railway era, and the number of potters dropped nearly to zero between about and the s. Potter Eudora Montoya — was most active in reviving Santa Ana work about , making thick-walled, white-slipped pots that she or her husband painted with elemental brown or black and red motifs, roughly rendered in slips that she sometimes acquired from sources other than those her ancestors had used, such as white kaolin she bought from Zia fig.
Among her motifs were ones Kenneth Chapman showed her on what he believed were the best old Santa Ana pots previously acquired at the Pueblo. The amount of work declined in the s and s but was revived when Montoya taught pottery making to other Santa Ana women in It was revived once again in the s by those taught by Montoya, and a small group of women potters now keep the tradition alive.
As bland postwar American popular taste broadened and Pueblo pottery-making became somewhat more profitable by the s, more men took up the trade. He drew on varied sources to make Acoma-like jar shapes, figures reminiscent of Zuni owls, and vases resembling precontact cylinders excavated at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. He painted all these with geometric rock art motifs and Mimbres renderings of small animals as well as popular Native American images of plants, feathers, and rainstorms fig. He often added naturalistic portraits of larger mammals and mountain landscapes. Painting with gray and soft brown on pinkish white slips, he covered every surface of his vessels, some nearly two feet tall.
He talked of moving to Japan and opening a Native American art store, but died unexpectedly about and no one has substantially followed his pottery-making lead. Kewa has been viewed as a particularly conservative Pueblo whose pottery changed relatively little in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its potters remained active primarily for Pueblo use into the twentieth century, but some of them defied Native leaders by selling pottery in Santa Fe Indian Fairs in the s, led by Monica Silva from Santa Clara, who had married a Kewa man.
By the s Robert Tenorio b. Using shadowy black and orange on a cream ground, he often combines traditional Kewa geometric motifs with animal portraits appealing to non-Pueblo collectors fig. His sisters and his nephew William Andrew Pacheco began working in a comparable manner, Pacheco beginning as a teenager to paint dinosaurs on jars and plates about and continuing to work with wry imagery within the developing family idiom fig. The contemporary art market for work by living Pueblo potters has shifted to favor what could be called ironists over straight traditionalists. Among the most commercially successful potters of recent decades have been men and women who mixed elements of revival style with contemporary individualized expression.
One of the most creative is Diego Romero b. Most often the artist uses Mimbres-inspired figures to portray, with humor and pathos, current Native Americans living in a strange modern world fig. He addresses contemporary issues and popular art using revival idioms in such an engaging way that every self-respecting museum showing Native American art must exhibit one of his bowls.
Museums tend to favor his savvy portraits of present-day Native life and reinterpretations of comic book images over his explicit anticolonial and rarer sexual scenes. His brother and sometime collaborator artist Mateo Romero b. In comparing her work with that of Diego Romero, one sees a refinement in execution that exemplifies much of the development in Pueblo pottery over the last half century.
Especially with Zuni pottery, the highest commercial value is assigned to good work claimed to predate World War I, unless it is clearly by an identifiable later potter.
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There is no reason to accept these market-driven criteria as objectively valid. Doing so would be to ignore the perspective of a community that has long favored selective acceptance of outside ideas while staunchly defending its beliefs. Anthropologist James Ostler calls Zuni a cultural as well as a language isolate, suffering little concern for non-Zuni taste. Zuni artists are locally acknowledged when they excel within a niche, more by specialization than revolution, and excessive personal attention can be divisive in the community, or worse.
When speaking, creating songs, or building houses, for example, individuals make choices that are diverse but grammatical, drawing on the performances of other speakers, singers, or builders with which they are familiar. Archaeologists are particularly interested in such changes evinced in the material record of the Southwest, long before as well as after contact with Europeans. All Pueblo communities sustained dramatic change when the Spanish invaders sought to alter their patterns of work and replace their systems of belief, and perhaps even more in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with modernization and political intervention threatening to erase much of their time-honored experience and introducing different, foreign models for nearly everything.
For Zunis and countless other groups, maintaining distinctive traditions has in the last two centuries become increasingly a matter of choice rather than performance within a limited grammar. From Nampeyo to Diego Romero, artists have chosen to reinvent as well as preserve design elements that can represent both individual expressions and a shared aesthetic. Cultural survival, then, is a dynamic rather than static process. Randy, we will see, has quietly set about constructing a coherent grammar of Zuni pottery over the last three decades, a grammar with shapes drawn from historic Zuni models, and with ornament inspired by a variety of sources, all of which resonate with his perception of the Zuni past.
Much of his work can be seen as less overtly radical than that of Diego Romero and Santiago Romero, but certainly it is no less thoughtful. Museum visitors often encounter one or two Pueblo pots in an exhibit, pieces that alone might convey limited meaning. Viewers may find a piece appealing in shape, ornament, or union of the two. Zuni potters are among the best in creating this union. The observer might judge whether the potter has performed her work with care and assurance, and whether she selected colors attractive to the viewer. Is it evenly and gracefully made?
Labeling helps the viewer move beyond sculptural and surface appreciation to recognize utilitarian quality and economy of form. The wear patterns on a bowl reflect how it was employed in a kiva or house. Virtually all exhibitions also offer a date or era, to the degree it is known or estimated. Much museum exhibition and published scholarship stops there, with the apparent basics in hand.
But it need not, with the degree of context recorded in the Southwest since the nineteenth century and the commentary of contemporary potters. Even when conversation remains superficial, the generally taciturn artist speaks with insight and often with eloquence. Prophets of doom have been vocal and authoritative ever since Matilda Coxe Stevenson wrote in that no Zuni women produced wares equal to those she and Colonel Stevenson previously had acquired in great numbers. Margaret McKittrick Burge from the advocacy group New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs visited Zuni in and reported that without outside intervention Zuni pottery-making would soon cease entirely.
Federal Census for listed only two Zuni women as potters—Tsayutitsa or Taiyuwasetsa and Manuelita Massie, both past sixty-five years old—compared with beadworkers, all women, many of them much younger. Now, pottery by two women who did extensive work in the first half of the twentieth century is attracting attention. As late as about , Tsayutitsa ca. Tsayutitsa is not the sole accomplished potter of her generation. Catalina Zunie ca. Conceptually, her decoration is less imaginative than that of Tsayutitsa, moving in a different direction from late-nineteenth-century tradition.
Her painting of frogs, tadpoles, and insects on the jars reflects the blurring of distinctions between water jars and cornmeal bowls by the turn of the century, ostensibly the result of outside market pressure. She was the first to teach pottery making at Zuni High School. Numerous photographs of Zuni women with large, well-made jars illustrate that other Zunis worked as potters in the s and s, whether or not the subjects specially dressed and posed for the shoot fig.
Zuni women continued to make pottery through World War II and the subsequent quarter century. They did consequential work that provided income as the Zuni population grew dramatically and as the Pueblo relied less and less on farming and herding, even though their output attracted limited outside critical attention at the time. When the works are unsigned, their pottery is often attributed to a more marketable, if less accurate, early date.
Owl figures, mujuqi or mu-hu-kwi , increasingly replaced ollas as the purchasable product most publicly associated with Zuni potters. Ranging in height from an inch to nearly a foot, pottery owls were seductive and portable items sold to tourists in the Southwest. Whether ovoid or lightbulb-shaped, pottery owls often have been formulaic, but they represent a Zuni touristic art form in which numerous Zuni women developed their own distinct styles and performed the work with pride and imagination. A core group of owl makers can be identified, and the influence of these potters on one another is recognizable fig.
Several examples make the point. Those by Unidetsa Kallestewa ca. She favored large, erect figures in which a round lower body is gracefully combined with a narrower head and shoulders. The potter most recognized for her Zuni owls is Nellie Bica ca. Both squeezed a beak from a single coil of clay and set it vertically over a roughly opened mouth, and both capped the beak with a brown painted triangle. Bica simplified the outline of the head to a plain cinquefoil and circled the eyes and mouth with dashes. Myra Eriacho — , sister of the potter Lawatsa, made a different variety of owls by the s and s, with more rotund bodies and wide shoulders supporting a realistically low head.
Her beaks are stylized as a flatter coil emphasized with a bold red apron, hung with a wide brown swag below the eyes. The eyes are ringed with chevrons and the pupils are painted off-center, as though the birds are glancing backward. A yet to be identified potter active in the s and s did imaginative but cruder work, often with a sense of humor.
Some of her fat-bodied owls balance on short legs, each with three oversized talons; others present the viewer with anxious babies. More like the makers of late-nineteenth-century Zuni owls, this potter covered nearly the whole body with roughly painted feathers extending up around the projecting eyes and fringed beak, with each feather dotted in brown or red. She incorporated horizontal borders with break lines, painting a brown boundary line turned down to a solid brown base in order to create a visible break, front and center.
This recalls an old detail that most other potters had abandoned by mid-century. These owls are related to the work of Zoe Jarmon ca.
Either a third related potter or the Spotted-Feather Owl Potter in a more rudimentary phase of her career hurriedly produced adult owls and squatting owlets that seem impatient for a meadow mouse, all painted without the line break. All these women sometimes placed baby owls on stumpy wings or directly on the body of an adult. Lawsaiyatesetsa in the Public Eye Owls became the big seller at Zuni but were not the sole product.
Potters continued to craft substantial, well-made vessels, as demonstrated by the large water jars that Zuni women, dressed in traditional garb, balanced on their heads as they marched the paved streets of Gallup for the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial, an annual event that began in Prominent among the marchers was the potter Lawsaiyatesetsa, or Kaiyutsalugtetsa ca.
A small plant sprouts inside a white field at the tip of the spiral, like the first bloom in spring, enfolded by the Rainbirds. Lawsaiyatesetsa created a more figurative composition of renewal with swirling pairs of Rainbirds giving life to the earth in an endless cycle requiring their benefaction. She also painted ollas with more conventional Deer in His House designs and other motifs, but she preferred her Rainbird composition, and this is the sort of jar she carried when most photographers caught the Olla Maidens in Gallup fig. It is interesting that she had a long career as a potter, but relatively few of her recognizable jars are known in museum collections or the market.
The uneven survival rate suggests that she made most of her jars for Zuni use rather than for sale to outsiders. A more orthodox Zuni potter working in the first half of the twentieth century was Tsaw-a:si, also called Mrs. An accompanying photograph shows her, a gray-haired woman in her late sixties or seventies, holding the largest jar. Her work is similar to that of Kyusita, who performed the steps in working Zuni pottery for George Pepper to photograph in see fig. The jars are canonical for their era, having high shoulders, concave neck, no flexure near the base, and all painted with familiar motifs in brown and orange on a kaolin slip.
She used double break lines below daggers, pairs of acute-angled frets, and scrolled diamonds on the neck. On the main field, she painted pairs of long-snouted deer in feathered houses above interlocking scrolls and stylized birds on a ground line or in matching houses below, alternating with rosettes fig. Her jars, with a predictable choice of motifs, were commonly seen when carried by Zuni women in popular events in Gallup, and they supplied a modest mid-century market for Zuni pottery—modest when compared to the sale of Acoma and San Ildefonso wares.
Pueblo Use: The Local Narrative Zuni pottery is a principal art form that Zunis recognize as representing their community, a role shared publicly only by jewelry and ceremonial dress. As Hardin observed in , contemporary Zuni painters commonly include recognizable pottery as ethnic signals in their portraits of the Pueblo. Favored gifts from potters or their families for such events as graduations and marriages, vessels are displayed and shown to guests with pride. For Zunis living in Albuquerque or elsewhere, a cornmeal bowl provides a connection to home, the Middle Place, Halona:wa, which in Zuni belief is the center of the world.
Water kept in a Zuni jar tastes better than that from a tap or refrigerator jug. Randy Nahohai suggests that traditional use sustained the making of Zuni pottery through periods in the twentieth century when sales were low. This phenomenon itself is worthy of note. Most commonly and openly, people keep bowls for household rituals: to hold offerings of cornmeal mixed with fragments of turquoise, shell, and coral, or for food offerings in their houses.
Laura Zunie, for example, keeps cornmeal with bits of turquoise in a terraced bowl made by her deceased aunt Ella Pinto, whom she calls grandmother. Zunis use terraced bowls with handles for offerings made outside the house, such as sprinkling cornmeal on Mudheads or Kachinas, or when the dancers come into the house at Shalako.
It is not essential that the bowls be handmade. Indeed, glass jars and plastic bags are acceptable to some householders for cornmeal. Third-generation potter Erma Kalestewa Homer says that although Zunis buy her cornmeal bowls, many view hand-formed pottery to be too expensive given the easy availability and low cost of greenware. Eileen Yatsattie painted a lovely black-on-white terraced bowl for her mother, Madeline Walela Yatsattie, who used it to hold cornmeal alongside other family pottery displayed in a living room cupboard fig.
Zuni potters began adding shaped animals to vessels in the late nineteenth century to attract Anglo buyers, and such vessels with frogs and turtles in relief have become accepted by the community as part of the canon for use at home.
For his help with healing, Eileen recently gave a round bowl with raised frogs to Maynard Nahohai, who employs it for cornmeal offerings in his living room. Erma Homer made five bowls with raised frogs painted in multiple colors some twenty years ago, intending all of them for sale outside the community. One of the five cracked when she fired it outside, so she employed it for cornmeal offerings at home until it became too dingy for use fig.
Her son Brandon Kalestewa painted a round bowl with dragonflies and his own distinctive geometric Zuni birds in and fired it in an electric kiln fig. When it broke, the family glued it together and used it for cornmeal offerings until It is from such bowls too that the Mudheads quickly eat stew with sticky bread before their fast is announced in the Shalako ceremony.
Women in her family used a particular one for carrying stews, and it remains a valued heirloom for that reason fig. Schoolteacher Jennie Laate asked Hardin for photographs of Zuni bowl interiors to help high school students fulfill requests for new stew bowls in , at a time when traditionally dressed women in procession sometimes carried their stew in enameled containers.
The use of Zuni-painted stew bowls has increased in recent years with the support of potters like Randy Nahohai and his nephew Maynard. Randy has been an influence in reviving greater use of the vessels in the processions. For these reasons and because they are often requested on short notice, virtually all stew bowls are now slipcast rather than formed by hand. Nevertheless, potters carefully and laboriously paint them. Maynard Nahohai, a more recent active potter, often uses a sgraffito method as well, slipping and then scratching designs into a wide band on the outside of the cast bowls.
Eileen Yatsattie, on the other hand, reports that she hand-shapes and traditionally paints stew bowls every year for ceremonies. There is a strong sense of categorical appropriateness at Zuni, a shared if not equally understood code concerning what material, objects, and behavior are appropriate in which contexts.
Laughing at the antics of Zuni clowns during religious dances is expected, but talking is unacceptable. Most participants and observers of rituals respect the practices, but clowns lampoon serious matters to help the people recognize deeper meaning below the surface of such presentations. Many Zuni families celebrate Christmas as well as Shalako and the winter solstice but take the Christian holiday less seriously.
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Rain Priests and Pekwin, the Sun Priest, care for pots of black paint as well as ritual figures brought from the underworld. These paints are still deemed inappropriate for use on pottery and are kept out of view. Christianity and Zuni ceremonialism have created syncretisms in the use of pottery since the seventeenth century, if archaeologist Frederick Hodge was correct that Franciscans used a Zuni glazeware pot as a baptismal vessel at Hawikuh before the Pueblo Revolt.
Zuni-made candlesticks are also said to have been found near the Hawikuh mission church, ostensibly for use by its priests. Most extensively, similar bowls are among the vessels used when clan members ceremonially wash the hair of their relatives. Once they have been employed for kiva use or washing, the bowls are unsuitable and even personally dangerous to sell.
Nor are jars that are used to hold the fetishes and masks when they are not in use. Zuni perceptions of authenticity are more important in the work of medicine societies and other community rituals than at home. Traditional medicine societies are the first choice for many Zunis suffering serious illness. Curing involves use of medicinal plants with powers released by incantation in carefully orchestrated sacred ceremonies.
Heavy use that can include grinding the medicines and dipping with seashells or clay ladles wears and often breaks the vessels. Traditional medicine societies commonly use smaller bowls for cornmeal offerings, although a single bowl can be used for both. Today, payment for such bowls is usually in the form of blessings to the potter.
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While commercial sales are an important element of the livelihoods of all contemporary Zuni potters, making ceremonial bowls can take precedence. The work of Rain Priests, Shiwani , is demanding and essential. Zunis occupy semiarid land, and prayers of the priests must be executed successfully each year for the community to survive and prosper, especially as the summer rain season begins and crops are at risk.
In about , Rowena Him made an elegant long-necked pitcher that Rain Priest Bernard Bowekaty of the Eagle clan used to dip springwater fig. She made a strong bowl and painted it with tadpoles grouped in threes, loosely modeled on the old bowl fig. She later was dissatisfied that she had used commercial materials, however, so she replaced it with a bowl she had made properly, with prayers, local clay, and pigments she ground by hand; though it was less durable, she felt it was more appropriate fig. She recently made another replacement with the same physical frailties and spiritual purity.
Wallace, the principal longtime local trader of Zuni vessels from until , exchanged manufactured products for Native-made objects. He sold jars by the master Tsayutitsa in the s and paid pennies for lowly ashtrays and bowls by others, but he is accused of actually discouraging pottery production for Anglos at Zuni because he found jewelry and carvings more economical to ship to distant merchants.
They turned to large-scale pottery making, Quanita having learned to construct pottery from watching her mother. Theirs is an additive style, with shaped frogs and serpents and painted tadpoles and butterflies applied to a bright white surface of bowls and jars. Their manner of working was also often reductive, depending on the size of the vessel. Nellie Bica and her family made large water jars painted with a full ensemble of Zuni Polychrome jar motifs as well as small, easily packable jars with simplified designs, such as a single deer in feathered roundels.
Whether the figures were large or small, the deer were carefully rendered with a formulaic white highlight on the rump and a red arrow, outlined in white, entering the body through the mouth fig. Before the s, the Kalestewas and other Zuni potters found outlets for their work primarily in distant stores, in Gallup, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. Mannie, who reminded Maynard Nahohai of comedian Don Rickles, gave treats to the kids.
The Goodmans would take the jars and bowls they preferred, and Josephine would sell the rest in other Albuquerque stores. In the s and later, some dealers and collectors sought out pottery as well as silverwork and fetish carving from among what was estimated to be as many as a thousand artisans at Zuni. Buyers came, especially at Shalako, but there were difficulties with non-Zunis attending religious ceremonies and some people thought it inappropriate to sell at times of religious significance, so trade was unreliable.
There were also stories of dealers, especially in and near Zuni, who were unwilling to pay fair prices for traditionally made vessels—that is, fired outside. Vessels often crack during the traditional process of firing, and dealers sometimes refused to buy pots with gray smoke clouds on the surface.
Now privately owned and located in Santa Fe, Keshi continues the policy of Zuni artists setting their own wholesale prices and receiving respectful treatment. Josephine and Nat Nahohai Josephine Nahohai — is a central figure in the story of contemporary Zuni pottery because of the connective role she played in sustaining and transmitting cultural tradition despite coming to the work at middle age with modest artistic interest.
Her mother, Lawatsa, sister of Lonkeena, was a potter as well as a weaver and made water jars that Josephine, as a young girl, used to carry well water back to their house near the north side of the river in Zuni fig. It was then that she learned to balance vessels on her head, a skill she later used as an Olla Maiden. Josephine remembered gathering clay near Brother and Sister Rock at Dowa Yalanne Corn Mountain , the great mesa just east of Zuni, where her people had lived from the Pueblo Revolt in until Spanish reconquest in She had watched her mother soak the clay they brought home, work the material, and make jars.
After leaving Jerry Shebala, Josephine married Nat Nahohai — , a well-humored widower who led the Great Fire medicine group, a powerful curing society, and the Corn Kiva, one of the six Zuni societies associated with the six directions fig. His sons tell how he allowed no beets in their house because of his unhappy memories of forced recruitment to stoop labor, digging sugar beets on school labor teams in central Kansas rather than being allowed to return to Zuni in the summers.
He and classmates were also denied the opportunity of returning to their homes for religious occasions, such as Shalako at Zuni. Like many Zuni women in the mid-twentieth century, Josephine Nahohai brought income to the household through silverwork and beadwork, as well as raising a few animals to feed the family.
Weaving had been a difficult source of income for her mother, Lawatsa, because the work was slow, her local customers had little cash, and they often failed to pay when the work was done. Lawsaiyatesetsa was an accomplished traditional potter, as we have seen, and she explained how to mix clay with the proper amount of ground potsherds as temper, and to let it sit overnight before use. Josephine also asked non-Zunis about how they painted pottery.
Schoolteacher Daisy Hooee shared unhelpful information on how to mix black pigment with a binder, but Ethel Youvella — , a Tewa-Hopi friend she had met at Indian School in Albuquerque and whom the family visited when they traveled to see dances at First Mesa, was more helpful. Josephine preferred taking clay from the same deposits her mother used at Dowa Yalanne.
There she would recite an old prayer of thanks to Earth Mother that she learned from Lawsaiyatesetsa, before digging a small hole and depositing a food offering. Her generation no longer embraced the taboo against men helping collect the clay. She and Nat would drive their green Chevy truck up through Trapped Rock Draw, past red-flowering paintbrush plants and onto the mesa in the early spring or late fall, when the trail was dry and passable. They hiked down rocky paths that offered dramatic views toward the Galestina Canyon.
The best clay was usually dug from small exposures under and around boulders on the hillsides. She and Nat lugged heavy boxes of it back to the truck, then left them in galvanized tubs in a shed or outside their house in Zuni. She processed the clay for pottery by soaking clumps of the material in water and slowly working it with her hands to remove inclusions—twigs, roots, rocks, and bits of calcium that cause spalling when pottery is fired. The task of straining the clay became easier, Milford jokes, when they discovered the miracle of wire screens.
Metates are worthless without a mano that fits them well, she said. Placing a cloth in the bowl helps the base of the new vessel not stick when removed from the bowl. Josephine scarred the edge of the pinch-potted base, then rolled out coils of clay to the approximate circumference of the vessel at each level, moistened the edges, and pressed them against the distressed edges beneath fig. She assembled three or more coils before flattening them and adding more. She squeezed the wall to roughly the desired thickness and scraped off excess clay with pieces of a rough gourd.
For jars, she continued building the outward curve of the wall to more than half the intended height, then brought the wall in to form a shoulder. In her largest jars, she set the shoulder at approximately two-thirds of the height. Her bowls usually resemble the bottom two-thirds of her jars. In both cases, she cut the mouth of the vessel flat with a knife, but she shaped the bases differently depending on their form: flat for her bowls and concave for all but the smallest jars, so that Zuni women could balance them on their heads without the use of a wicker or rubber ring.
Josephine knew how to wait. A characteristic of most southern Pueblo pottery is the smoothness of its face, which, given the irregularity inherent in coiled work, requires great effort. Josephine smoothed the outer surface of her vessels and owls with sandpaper. Zuni potters working in the century before her favored applying a white slip made from kaolin, or what Milford Nahohai calls ka-chi-ba , to the most visible surfaces of their ornamented pottery.
If she intended not to slip the object, she burnished the walls, although unslipped pottery is more difficult to burnish because the surface of the clay is rougher and dries faster. If both sides were to be white, Josephine would slip and polish one before starting the other.
White slip is made of New Mexico kaolin mixed as a slurry and applied to the surface. She usually applied two layers with rabbit fur or a rag. Josephine prepared black, brown, and dark red or orange paints from minerals and clays found on Zuni land. She boiled the beeweed to the consistency of licorice, then often placed it on corn shucks, and sought to mix the two ingredients in a proportion that would avoid the natural tendency of the brown to rub off when the pottery was handled.
Josephine and Nat collected clay pigments and brown, iron-bearing stone near Nutria, another active Zuni farming center. She fired her pottery outside in a traditional Pueblo manner, without a permanent kiln, after keeping the work dry in her wood-fired cooking oven. On a morning when the wind was calm and the ground was dry and not too cold, she would place cedar kindling and a food offering on the ground behind the Nahohai house.
Then she set the unfired pottery on large potsherds or a grate balanced on a pedestal of stone or cans and covered it with more pieces of broken pottery and sometimes bits of metal. Earlier she had collected dried sheep dung, which she then cleaved into slices about the size of bricks, building an outer wall of dung around the sherds or metal while being careful to keep the fuel from touching the pottery. She arranged the pieces of dung over the covering like a roof. When all the dung had turned to ash, she and the others used a pitchfork, rake, or kitchen tongs to pick up the pots and owls, put them on a tray to bring inside, and placed the tray on the stove so the pieces would cool down slowly.
Josephine Nahohai made a range of pottery for different sorts of clients. She said she began making owls because they were easy, shaping two bowls, melding them together, removing the extra clay, and adding anatomical features like upturned eyes and beaks. Her earliest owls were relatively crude, with flipper-like wings and baby owls growing directly out of the pear-shaped bodies of mother owls fig.
After applying and burnishing the white slip, she ornamented them by first painting brown eyeballs, noses, and dots covering the head. Next she painted asymmetrical feathers, dropping each line for the upper rows from dots on the lower head, followed by brushing red on the horns, beaks, and eyes. Finally, she added small brown details like eyelashes and retouched any brown that needed attention. Josephine, Nat, and sometimes their children traveled to events at museums such as the Heard in Phoenix, Arizona, and to shows as far afield as Hershey, Pennsylvania, selling her pottery or jewelry, demonstrating pottery and bread making, and dancing.
Round bowls she decorated with rudimentary frogs or turtles crawling over the plain, flat lip. These vessels she sanded, slipped with kaolin partially or entirely, burnished, and painted with brown or red. Initially she painted the bases with a solid dark color and did not sign them. Later she and Nat began printing her name on the light-colored bottom, then painted around it in the darker color. For a more serious collector clientele, Josephine made jars 9—10 inches high or more that she sold to Native American art dealers in Gallup and Albuquerque.
She primarily made jars with a round lower body, much like that of her owls, and with broad necks sloping in straight from high shoulders toward the mouth. A few dealers would seek out her work at home. Two women who ran a shop called Pot Carrier in Burlingame, California, would call months ahead and then buy all that she made for commercial use.
She would apply the slip and prepare the paints, and he would decide the patterns to be applied. He carried a small spiral-bound notebook and took notes on Zuni music and dance that interested him, and sketched designs for pottery and nonpublic painting. For this, Nahohai used brown hachuring to outline a short step figure and added tiny touches of red fig. Nat drew a horizontal line bisecting the circles or as a ground line for single deer, alternating with two rosettes, called hep-a-kyi-na , of roughly the same height fig.
That band he painted with round-bodied Zuni birds and his own versions of conventional scrolled diamonds and hachured daggers. Nat Nahohai was confident when painting objects such as medicine group altars for his ritual duties but humble about his ability to paint pottery.
Particularly as the number of local potters decreased and her work became known in the community, Josephine Nahohai was called on to fulfill needs from other Zuni women and men. Like Unidetsa Kallestewa, she found friends in the Olla Maidens as reliable customers if not the most remunerative.
Some, such as her fellow Golden Eagle clan members Eleanor Ahiyite and Rose Gaspar, would trade their jewelry for her pots. Milford now jokes that some photographs show an Olla Maiden group with all her friends carrying handmade jars, and her only with a slipcast substitute fig. Most of her early vessels went to Zunis, they remember, rather than to outsiders. She painted most of her own bowls intended for religious use and, especially at reduced size, to sell to Anglos see fig. Even when she made knickknacks for easy sale at museum fairs and ceremonials, she firmly believed that the material she used was a gift to her, requiring respect and acknowledgment for the giver.
Milford recalls once when he was young, trying to bring home clay he had idly collected as an excuse for being out in the country. His mother recognized his small ruse and insisted that they return to the site and make proper prayers and offerings. They then found far more usable clay, even without a shovel, than he had been able to glean. The earth responded when shown respect. Their appreciation, expressed in offerings and a recited prayer, was requited.
This was manifested for Josephine in when firing two large jars behind the family house. There was an explosion and both jars collapsed in an unusual manner. She immediately recognized the accident as an ill omen, and within two months, her eldest child from both marriages died in peculiar circumstances. Potter Eileen Yatsattie has had similar experiences when the presence of inauspicious visitors made her wares break in firing, and consistent failure of all her cornmeal bowls presaged death of her cousins.
Other potters have repeated failures because of inappropriate attitudes that would otherwise seem unconnected to their work. Objects made by Zunis or their ancestors have lives; they become sentient beings. Intact arrowheads found at Hawikuh, if properly handled, can serve as fetishes that may aid Nahohai nieces in their high school sports. Randy has had vessels fall when other objects would seem to have blocked their way. Jaycee often sees breakage of his own pottery as beyond his control, in its sanding and firing or after its completion.
By she was again making pottery and relying on Milford to deal with the firing after she constructed the dome. He returned to Fort Lewis for seasonal classes in and graduated within two years. He then lived at home and gradually began helping Josephine assemble her pottery, shaping small frogs and setting them on her bowls. Like some of her predecessors, Josephine made relatively rough semi-hemispherical bowls decorated with shaped frogs or turtles clinging to the rim, and with tadpoles painted on burnished surfaces fig.
In one example, they slipped the inside with orange and the outside with white, burnishing both. Milford shaped seven turtles and painted them dark red, brown, and white, alternating colors on their carapaces fig. Collaborations grew. The Nahohai family was intrigued by an early vessel with a warped mouth and debated whether it represented a firing accident or was intentional for ease in pouring.
Milford and Josephine worked together on a jar intended to support the latter interpretation. They gave it a curving rim, indented the neck, and applied turtles resembling those on their smaller bowl fig. Milford increasingly assisted his mother with finishing the edges and burnishing the walls. Josephine took no less pride in her work, however, casting some of her dolls as six- to eight-inch Olla Maidens and carefully beading their bodies and clothing.
For them, taking up a traditional art form was a choice about how and where to live, selected from options that included working in Albuquerque or elsewhere outside the reservation. It was also a choice that could be made in increments, shifting toward traditional art after returning to a household in the Pueblo, allowing one to avoid the rigid schedule of having a salaried job. On one cornmeal bowl shaped by his mother, he varied from family practice by paralleling a black border at the edge with a thin outer line, stepped up above each dragonfly.
This drew on late-nineteenth-century Zuni practice, and it made the asymmetrical terraces appear more orderly fig. Successor to the Studio, the IAIA had liberated its students from the rigidly enforced use of flat-style painting promoted by Dorothy Dunn and her successors. He favored painting large canvases and supported himself in Santa Fe by selling them through the school shop. He submitted paintings to the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial but sold few of them.
Zuni potters commonly doubled a serrated, acute-angled fret with an arched return, creating a bilaterally symmetrical, wing-shaped motif on the necks of their jars, including those by Tsaw-a:si see fig. Randy marked out areas with heavy double and single lines and began to incorporate breaks in major horizontal ones fig. As late as Randy painted pairs of conventional Zuni birds in feathered houses alternating with rosettes in a traditional manner below three scrolled diamonds on the neck, all in black and red on a white slip.
Margaret Hardin, who had studied Zuni pottery since , interviewed Josephine Nahohai in — when preparing an — exhibition at the Heard Museum in Phoenix and four other venues, as well as the first such pottery exhibition at Zuni. Josephine mixed the clay and formed the vessel, and Randy reshaped it by pulling the walls in, to form a stronger shoulder, and up, to create a vertical neck—steps toward the older Zuni Polychrome shape.
He painted the pattern and rubbed it off repeatedly until he felt it was respectably done fig. Doing his own work, Randy came gradually to what he now considers good Zuni pottery, from modest beginnings. Still finding it hard to sell paintings without making the long trip to Santa Fe, he decorated and kiln-fired greenware vessels he bought in Gallup, ornamental but intended for everyday household use. He did some commissions. Employees at Zuni Hospital, for example, paid him to paint a greenware cup and bowl as gifts for two departing nurses, Eduardo and Laura Alvarado, when they completed training in Houses, Big Birds, and Pottery House building and remodeling in Zuni is traditionally done with a clan- and kiva-based workforce and strong spiritual overtones.
The resident who decides to build or extend a house acquires materials and supports clan and kiva members who do the construction or help acquire components and who are otherwise unpaid. The work must be completed by the beginning of the Shalako ceremony, in early December. Six great birdlike Shalako figures enter the town, acting as messengers from the gods and ensuring fecundity for the coming year. Each Shalako blesses one of the new homes or additions built to honor them, called a Shalako house.
The Shalako dances and spends much of the night in ritual shared with religious leaders and hosts in the large new central room. The ceremonies extend into the next morning, when Saiytasha, or Long Horn, Rain Priest of the North and leader in the Council of the Gods, makes his prayer to the sun as it rises. Other new houses honor Long Horn and the Mudheads, for a total of eight houses.
Two figures can associate if there are fewer than eight projects. After they married, Josephine and Nat Nahohai had followed the matrilineal practice of living in her family house at the core of the Pueblo, north of the Zuni River. The house was crowded with multiple strains of family, eventually leading them to select open land and build a stone-walled Mudhead house on the south side of the river.
Their own extended family also expanded, and eventually they enlarged the house as a second, Shalako effort, with Nat working as one of the stonemasons. The bowls became heirlooms in the families even though they were slipcast and used by wives to carry stew for male family members in the kivas during Winter and Summer dances.
A year later, he painted nine stew bowls as gifts to be used by his sister Priscilla Tsethlikai, who sponsored another Shalako house. This was followed by ceramic support for Mudhead, Koyemshi houses for sister Deborah Hooee, in , and later for nephew Maynard Nahohai. The total was about three dozen bowls. It is not practical to make so many large bowls by the hand-coil method, and painting them was laborious. His attention to traditional Zuni pottery also grew, so he shifted from using commercial pigments on the first bowls to using those his mother gathered and prepared on the later ones.
Rowena Him and Randy married in and lived with her mother until they moved to new BIA housing in Black Rock, before their son Jaycee was born in While living at the Him household, however, Randy would use the Nahohai house for studio space. The next year, he made a second corn figure, this one a glazed male counterpart painted with yellow, tan, brown, and black on white, which was bought at Zuni by a representative from the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Department of the Interior fig. The form, but none of the motifs, was popularized by various Pueblo potters in the twentieth century, most of them away from Zuni.
On the largest he painted a Corn Maiden, more anatomically correct than anyone had seen at Zuni and rendered in his realist style, seated in front of a sun with rays lighting the landscape that she occupies. The intermediate jar he developed as a series of painted horizontal levels, with stepped cloud motifs spreading rain above a landscape represented by a terraced cornmeal bowl with diving tadpoles. He shaped and painted an unslipped jar with motifs taken from one or more Zuni Polychrome jars made circa — that alternate large patterns of capped crooks with smaller ones of circles made into rosettes by surrounding points fig.
As lively secondary motifs, hachured and cross-hachured daggers appear to fling off frets, some with square eyes, and larger permutations of the spiky motifs decorate the shoulders of the old jars.
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Unlike the older potters, he organized pairs of acute-angle frets to align with a double line break centered over one pair of spirals and the joint between two neck panels on the other fig. The tribal government made a perceptive choice in hiring an Anglo named James Ostler as the manager, a sympathetic art instructor and anthropologist with experience in Pueblo pottery. Ostler immediately bolstered and increased the numbers of Zuni potters by raising their profile in the Native American art world.
Milford Nahohai was hired along with two other Zuni staffers to work with Ostler. Initially he was simply to handle the stock, but Ostler soon recognized his engaging personality and educational skills. Milford developed into an effective salesperson and took pottery on the road. Two associated stores, selling only Zuni-made wares, were opened in San Francisco and Venice, California, by the early s. Milford was also given responsibility for selling Zuni arts and crafts at Native American art shows, state fairs, and museum shops. As a modest market grew for Zuni pottery, both Milford and Randy also began to advise their mother to double the price she charged out-of-town dealers and collectors who appeared at her door.
She did, and seldom negotiated. The purpose was to introduce her—and, through her, the community of potters at Zuni—to more Zuni material. The potters focused primarily on fine Zuni Polychrome jars, sketching those they found most appealing, though Randy paid attention to the shape of earlier Kiapkwa Polychrome jars and geometric ornament as possible alternatives to Deer and Birds in Houses. Both their visual variety and temporal depth appealed to him. The group also met two broadly knowledgeable scholars. The first was J. Brody, credited as the first art historian to present twentieth-century Native American painting in a realistic modern market context rather than an imagined world of all-important continuity.
Westika used her sketches when making small jars she painted with feather, crook, and Zuni dagger motifs in traditional pigments fig. Rose Gasper and Carmelia Mahooty made a number of similarly small pieces, and Gasper later took classes at home with Daisy Hooee. In Anderson Peynesta, his high school teacher Jennie Laate, Thelma Sheche, and the Nahohai family were invited to demonstrate pottery making at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival for more than two weeks on the Mall in Washington.
The Nahohais and other Zuni potters found new venues for selling their work. The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff extended attention to New Mexican Pueblos, and in it began to sponsor an annual show of pottery and other Zuni work. Most important was the Santa Fe Indian Market, which granted the family a booth and awarded prizes for their pottery. It was there that they met Acoma potter Lucy N. His travel beyond New Mexico had been limited. He realized how limited the current spectrum of pottery was at Zuni and he committed himself to raising the innovative quality of Zuni pottery to its level in the previous century.
Randy drew shapes and ornamental patterns in his sketchbook and immediately began making pottery of impressive appearance. It is much easier to raise a coiled pot with a simple globular form than to judge the condition of the clay sufficiently to extend the walls horizontally, especially inward from a broad body toward a narrow neck, so the challenge of creating the three-part shape appealed to Randy. The section below the belly is intended to be seen, even though it is deeply recessed.
Indeed, a clearly defined base offered all the more reason to paint the lowest section with an orange or red slip, like earlier Zuni practice, rather than daubing a ring of black or brown around the bottom. Line work equally interested him. The museum pots showed Randy and his family the effective use of thick lines framing thin ones bordering areas filled with fine, tightly spaced hachuring. Tsayutitsa had used all these elements, selectively—elements that had dominated nineteenth-century Zuni pottery painting.
Randy began using hachuring for larger motifs, and older Zuni people spoke approvingly, saying it represented rain. Three-part lines provided an emphatic boundary for shoulders, separating neck from belly. The alternative of paired thick lines was used both on shoulders of jars and to separate the outer border of bowls from central motifs. Randy had employed paired lines effectively on earlier jars, but after seeing the old work he beefed them up on a grand jar, seventeen inches high and equally wide, circa