- Nampeyo, Hopi, American, c. 1860-1942
- Born: Hano, AZ
- Work Locations: Hano, AZ
- Active Dates: 1880- 1940
Nampeyo (Hopi-Tewa), Jar, 1900-1915. Painted ceramic; 9 7/8 x 11 ¾ in. Denver Art Museum: Gift of C.W. Douglas, 1929.72
The ancestors of the modern Hopi left evidence of rich pottery traditions. Villages such as Sikyatki, Awatovi, and Kawaikuh, inhabited from roughly 1400–1625, were close to Nampeyo’s home village of Hano and were actively being excavated at the end of the 1800s. Anthropologists and traders provided Nampeyo with firsthand opportunities to study the prehistoric ware found at these digs.
Nampeyo revived not only prehistoric patterns and forms in her work but also the traditional Hopi pottery-making process. By 1900, the artist had rediscovered Sikyatki clay sources. Rather than coating her pots with a colored slip, the artist painted her designs directly on the polished clay surface.
With her reputation established, Nampeyo soon began producing large, exceptionally painted pottery for a market of collectors. Though built upon prehistoric designs, vessels such as this represent a creative leap. The artist was no longer fashioning replicas but rather experimented with new designs as she fused elements of prehistoric patterns into innovative new compositions.