Native American, southwestern United States, Zuni, attributed to Tsayutitsa (Zuni, 1871-1959), ca. 1930s. A stunning coil-formed pottery vessel with a concave circular base, a wide, apple-shaped body, swollen shoulders, a tapered neck, and an undulating rim. The vessel is enveloped in a base layer of white slip and then decorated with intricate floral, avian, as well as stylized curvilinear and geometric motifs, some further embellished with striated and crosshatch centers, all in hues of black, russet, and plum. The body features nested, petaled rosettes encircled by two concentric rings and a final scalloped border on either side, a horizontal register of abstract avian figures above a register of wave motifs. Above and below these registers are stylized orbs and geometrics arranged in a balanced composition, while the corseted neck features abstract organic forms with spiraling hooks surrounding concentric diamonds, all framed by double striated bands above and below. An exemplary vessel! Size: 15.25" L x 15.25" W x 14" H (38.7 cm x 38.7 cm x 35.6 cm)
Tsayutitsa - also known as Mrs. (Luark) Moomchuti/Lahih - was one of two highly revered Zuni potter in the early 1900s, the other being Catalina Zunie. In 1987, scholar Jonathan Batkin reported, "In the 1920s about a dozen good potters worked at Zuni. Among these was great master, Tsayutitsa, whose work is unmistakable. Her finest pieces are large and radically shaped, with swollen shoulders, and are decorated with marvelous designs that perfectly accentuate the extreme forms." (Batkin: "Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico" 1987)
"It has heretofore proven impossible to identify her with certainty and to reconstruct her biographical data. Batkin mentioned that, because her Indian name was difficult to pronounce, many people referred to her as 'Mrs. Milam's mother.' In fact, 'Mrs. Milam's mother' is incorrect; it should have been Mrs. Malani's mother.' (The Pottery of Zuni Pueblo by Dwight P. Lanmon and Francis H. Harlow)
Accompanied by a Morning Star Gallery tag identifying it as attributed to Tsayutitsa and listing it for $16,500. Tag reads, "Zuni Polychrome Pottery Jar c. 1930s / Classic rosettes & birds / Attributed to Tsayutitsa (1871-1959) 14" x 15.25" / PH-2271* / $16,500"
This piece has been searched against the Art Loss Register database and has been cleared. The Art Loss Register maintains the world’s largest database of stolen art, collectibles, and antiques.
Provenance: private Glorieta, New Mexico, USA collection; ex-Morning Star Gallery
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Professionally repaired from about four or five large pieces. Normal surface wear with scuffs, spalls, and stains here and there. Painted decoration is vivid and strong.