Begaye, Nathan – Polychrome Jar with Three Hopi Birds (2000)

7"w x 3.5"h

$ 1,400.00

This is an intricate polychrome jar by Nathan Begaye.  He was a unique innovator among Pueblo and Navajo potters.  His ethnic connection to both Hopi and Navajo let his clay art flow between the two distinctive styles and yet find its own unique space.  His work used traditional designs, forms, and techniques, yet somehow appeared very modern.  This jar is a classic Hopi-Tewa shape with a wide shoulder and a slightly turned out rim. The rim is polished brown and the remainder of the jar is polished white.  The top is painted with very complex birds.  Each bird is different, including a hummingbird, parrot, and classic Sikaytki bird. Each bird is very colorful and each of the painted areas was then stone polished one section at a time.  There are at least SIX clay colors on the jar.  I remember going to Nathan’s apartment when he lived in Phoenix at the time he made this jar.  I would watch him work on painting his pottery.  He would talk about each of the colors and some were more difficult to source than others. The purple and blues, I remember, were the most difficult to find.  This amazing piece has all his complex colors, including purple and blue!  The jar was traditionally fired to create the blushes on the surface.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  It is signed on the bottom, “Nathan Begaye”.  It is from 2000.  The last photo is a picture I took of Nathan when he was living in Phoenix.  He moved there for several years and I would go to his apartment and see what he was working on and hear the stories about his pottery, the clays, and his firings.