Anasazi Pottery


Anasazi Pottery: History of Nampeyo the Godmother of Hopi pottery

Hopi Pottery is some of the most beautiful of all the Native American pottery types with its gorgeous and easily identifiable white wash with poly-chrome painting. Brilliant black designs on orange or yellow, and/ or red images, hieroglyphs or shapes painted on pots, bowls, plates, and even ladles, once you see Hopi art pottery you will recognize it immediately.

But did you know all Hopi pottery of today is descended from a single potter?

Nampayo or Snake Girl the famous Hopi potter, was born in either 1859 or 1860 to a Tewa mother and a Hopi father in the village of Hano on Arizona’s First Mesa.

As a young child, Nampayo became fascinated by the pottery making of her grandmother and as she grew up she began to learn how to make pottery and experimented with many different looks and styles. When she was in her 20s she began looking for new styles and became interested in the pottery making techniques of previous generations known as Anasazi pottery. It was during this time that she began to explore the archeological site located near her home.

Nampeyo and her husband scoured the area and found numerous shards of ancient pottery and becoming intrigues with the beautiful colors, textures and designs represented by these earlier times, she began to experiment with different clays and unusual ways of mixing and baking it to achieve a similar effect. In doing this she discovered new ways of breathing life into the old designs she found and soon created a totally new look.

Nampeyo’s new designs and textures became extremely popular and collectors all over the world began clamoring for her work. The new style took on a life of its own and soon other potters were copying her work.

During her long life, Nampeyo never stopped working and experimenting with creating new styles from the old. Even when her eyesight began to fade first her dedicated husband and her children helped her by becoming her eyes so she could continue working until her death.

Nampeyo passed away in 1942 and was known far and wide as the godmother of modern Hopi artware pottery and a symbol of Hopi culture for all time. Today her work as well as all Hopi pottery is greatly sought after by collectors all over the world.

Once you have seen the most unique and beautiful Anasazi Pottery, you will be amazed.

This wonderful resource from Amazon describes and illustrates ten centuries of Southwestern Pottery, and has a full history of this Pottery.

Learn more here about American Indian Pottery

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