Benn, Shirley Nampeyo – Large Jar with Awatovi Bird Designs
WOW! This is an extraordinary large jar by Shirley Benn. Shirley is a daughter of Daisy Hooee, a granddaughter of Annie Nampeyo Healing, and a great-granddaughter of Nampeyo of Hano. She learned to make pottery from her mother. This is one of the largest pieces of her pottery we have had in the gallery. It is coil-built and thin-walled. The entire jar is fully polished and painted with bee-weed (black) and clay slips. It has a round shape and a flared rim. The entire piece is fully polished. Around the shoulder is a large Awatovi inspired bird from the Awatovi murals. As the jar is turned there are bird wings, cloud, rain, and lightning designs. Note how she has used stippling as part of the design imagery. She has also lightly etched lines into the clay for design. There are two sections where the bird tails extend downward to the base of the jar. There are both white and red clay slip areas to accentuate the design. The jar was traditionally fired with light blushes on the surface. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed on the bottom, “Shirley Benn Nampeyo”. Definitely a piece of history!