Chapella, Grace – Large Jar with Moth Design (1950s)
This is an exceptional large jar by Grace Chapella. The jar was made using the traditional Hopi clay and painted with bee-weed. The moth design is one for which Grace is the most famous for its revival. There are three sections, each with a moth. Separating them are triangular designs representing the three Hopi mesas. Below are the stars at night. There is a black band around the shoulder and below are panels of cloud and rain designs. The rim of the jar has rain lines. The jar is signed on the bottom “Grace Chapella”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. There is some fugitive black, which is not unexpected on a piece of this age. It is definitely a piece of history!
Grace Chapella was born into the Bear Clan on February 14, 1874, at Tewa on First Mesa. She learned to make pottery from her mother, TaTung Pawbe and also from Nampeyo of Hano, who was her neighbor. Her name in Tewa as “White Squash Blossom”. She was one of the great Hopi matriarchs of the last century. Grace was the sister of Laura Chapella Tomosie and Dalee, the mother of Alma Tahbo, and the great grandmother of Mark Tahbo and Diana Tahbo. She led a remarkable life, becoming the first Hopi to fly in an airplane in 1927 and living over a century (107 years!). Grace revived designs from the Sikyatki ruins at the base of First Mesa and it is the classic butterfly or moth pattern for which she is the most famous.