Butterfly & Bird Wedding VaseClara Gachupin
This fine potter is descended from a posse of famous potting families in her her pueblo of Jemez (now, Walatowa).
She counts, Toyas, Shendos, Yepas, and Chinanas among them. This gene-pool of pottery talent shows in her exacting work, as here.
A wedding vase of imposing size and superb decoration, the central decoration refers to traditional Pueblo designs of a bird and butterfly.
These represent pollination, the planting season, and the hope for a good harvest.
By extension, on a wedding vase these symbols refer to fertility of a different sort, but the message of good luck, happiness and good health is the same.
The background is painted with exquisite precision in a combination of fine-line and petal patterns, one over the other.
This emphasizes the rotundity of the piece by getting subtly smaller toward the bottom and top.
The fine lines represent rain, and the petals the flourishing plants that rain encourages.
Two medallions, one on each side, are meticulously painted with curved lines that echo the globular shape of the wedding vase.
On the one side, a particularly decorative bird – with its wispy crest, perhaps a quail, symbol of family life – floats perkily above a swirl of stylized feathers.
The feathers are painted with various rain and water signs.
On the other side, is painted a traditionally depicted butterfly, with seeds and plant symbols behind it.
It hovers above another spray of feathers, and various storm and rain signs.
Despite the abundance of designs and patterns, there is a sense of serenity in this piece. The all-over pattern in a small scale, which helps.
The space around the motifs in the center medallions, and the plain white band at the top, all contribute to a tranquil, integrated beauty.
With a handsome form and beautiful decoration, and meticulous workmanship, the symbolism means abundance and happiness.
This is a perfect gift for a wedding, engagement or anniversary. Or just to keep for yourself.