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Nampeyo Canteen, c. 1900

Nampeyo Canteen, c. 1900

Nampeyo Canteen, c. 1900

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This Hopi canteen measures 8" x 8", native clay and paints, excellent condition with some surface abrasions, c. 1900, attributed to Nampeyo of Hano.

Nampeyo is one of three legendary Native potters. Maria Martinez and Margaret Tafoya are the other two. Nampeyo displays the greatest creative range. We heard from her grand-daughter, Dextra Quotskuvya, that she considered the canteens the most difficult to make.

This piece bears two distinguishing features of many of her canteens: the bifurcated handles and the beaker curved forward. The art is Sikyatki revival with what I interpret as an abstracted Katsina. She uses avian design elements but the top of the canteen has the abstracted eyes and they complete the figurative abstraction.

Nampeyo is frequently compared to Picasso in terms of creativity. This also applies to the cubist quality of her abstracted images. It is truly stunning work.

"When I first began to paint, I used to go to the ancient village and pick up pieces of pottery and copy the designs. That is how I learned to paint. But now I just close my eyes and see designs and I paint them." Nampeyo c. 1920's