Da, Tony – Black & Sienna Jar with Avanyu (1968-9)
4.5"w x 4"h
Tony Da is one of the great innovative names in Pueblo pottery. He had a very short career which spanned from 1967-82. At his first art show at Gallup Ceremonials in 1967, he not only won blue ribbons on each piece, but they added new categories for his innovative art in clay. This jar is a classic shape with a wide shoulder and short neck. The jar has an avanyu etched into the clay. Tony would etch the designs into the clay before they were fired so that they would be very precise. The neck of the jar is sienna, which means that after the jar was fired black, it was re-heated on the neck to burn off the black and reveal the sienna color of the clay. This style became a signature of his pottery. It was primarily done between 1967-71, with only a few black and sienna pieces after that date. This jar has a near gunmetal coloration and a striking use of the sienna on the rim. Note how the inside of the rim remains black, giving it a greater depth in appearance. We know the piece is most likely from 1968-9 from the shape and the style of the black and sienna with no painted line separating the two, which appears later. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, repair. Definitely a classic of his pottery style!
“Tradition was the backbone of Indian art in the past, but the Indian is leaning more toward contemporary art year after year and will do so even more in the future. We are all influenced by our environment and what society demands. “I am my own person. My techniques are traditional but for making pottery designs I use modern tools—x-acto knives, fine drilling instruments—incising abstract designs that are based somewhat on cultural material.”” Tony Da, Spoken Through Clay