Begaye, Nathan – Incised and Painted “Layered” Green Jar (1994)
Nathan Begaye was a unique innovator among Pueblo and Navajo potters. His ethnic ancestry of both Hopi and Navajo let his work flow between the two distinctive styles and yet find their own unique space. His work used traditional designs, forms, and techniques, yet somehow appeared very modern. For many of his pieces, he would talk about them being “layered”, much like his own cultural and personal experiences. That is often the best way to look at these pieces and extract something from each of the varied layers. This jar has a low shoulder and an elongated neck. The piece was first polished green. Then it was incised with a sun, sikyatki bird, thunderbird, and cloud designs. The jar was then painted with two different red clays over the surface of the incised designs. The designs are cloud patterns that flow and spiral around the piece. Looking through all the layers, the jar becomes a fascinating balance of color, form, design, and contrasting shapes. The jar is signed on the bottom, “Nathan B. Hopi Navajo ’94”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.