Carved Fish and Water Seed Pot
She has been called the best sgrafitto carver at Jemez, “at the top of the ladder” among potters at her pueblo.
Highly respected and sought after, her densely embellished pieces are usually smallish in scale, and exquisitely formed and decorated.
Here, two stylized fish with air bubbles top the design of water signs, seeds, flower petals and more.
The stippled bands may represent the earth above a stream and then below ground, with red seed pods.
The base of the piece is signed with the artist’s cornstalk hallmark.
The emphatic, yet graceful, horizontal divisions and allover decoration create an animated design.
Using a red clay slip and natural dark brown pigment, the naturally beige base clay shows in contrast, creates drama and adds dynamism.
As delightful as the design is, the water theme is serious for desert dwelling tribes.
Water means crops will grow and life will be abundant, healthy and happy.
In this vase, the fish are swimming, the seeds, symbolically are being preserved, and so the living will be fine.
With this syncopated, beautifully executed seed pot in your collection you’ll be fine, too.