Native American, Southwest, Arizona, Hopi, ca. 1960s. A hand-crafted solid oak table featuring tilework by famous Hopi potter Sylvia Poleyestewa (also Poley) (Hopi, b. 1935, an artist listed in "Hopi-Tewa Pottery" (1998) by Gregory Schaaf), created in the 1960s on the Hopi Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. Sylvia is best known for her traditional polychrome tiles with wonderful figural imagery and rounded corners as we see in this piece. The tabletop features nine tiles that come together to present a full standing Kachina figure known as Morning Singer Kachina who is believed to sing early in the morning to awaken the residents of the pueblo on feast days - in traditional Hopi hues of orange, black, and chocolate brown on a cream ground. Each tile presents a border featuring traditional Hopi motifs and colors as well. Size: 27.375" L x 27.125" W x 22.25" H (69.5 cm x 68.9 cm x 56.5 cm); each tile is ~ 6.5" L x 5.25" W (16.5 cm x 13.3 cm)
This table is accompanied by a letter that confirms it was created by Sylvia Poleyestewa on the Hopi Reservation during the 1960s. Also stated, "The table was likely an expensive commissioned piece, as no other similar pieces are known to exist. .. This table is unique in that it is a 9-tile portrayal of a full figure. . . Careful planning was necessary to create such a large figure. . . No similar tables, or 9-tile Kachina designs have been identified." The letter also describes how Hopi tiles are traditionally created, "Hopi tiles are first painted with natural mixed colors; then hand fired in a pit covered by dung, sticks and other gathered materials for fuel. This firing process is difficult and time consuming and many tiles crack or even explode during the firing. The Hopi or Hopituh-shi-nu-mu" (or the peaceful people) have lived in Arizona for centuries and these tiles are examples of their rich cultural heritage."
Provenance: private Palm Springs, California, USA collection; acquired before 1965
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Excellent. Tiles show no cracks, repairs, or surface wear. One could consider placing a glass insert to protect the rare Hopi artwork.