Da, Tony – Red Bowl with Avanyu (1969-70)
4"w x 3.5"h
This is a classic bowl by Tony Da. Tony was a grandson of Maria Martinez and had a short career that spanned from 1967-82. He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery. He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi, and then began creating all matte carved vessels. This bowl is from around 1976-70. It is a very round shape and highly polished. The bowl has a water serpent (avanyu) etched into the clay. Note how he elongates the head of the avanyu to match the space he has given in on the bowl. As well, the background area is “stippled” to give it texture against the polished surface. The single band of design and letting the shape and polish be a part of his “design” is a signature of Tony’s pottery. This bowl was fired a deep red. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. Over the course of his career, he said that he only created about 30 pieces a year! The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!
“I make only about 30 pots a year. That’s fewer than most Indian potters, but mine take so much time that’s all I can do. I try to combine tradition and contemporary design in a unique way, no matter what the medium.” Tony Da (1972), Spoken Through Clay
“It is rare to witness the artistic arc of a potter with such a short career yet incredible artistic longevity. Tony Da is that rare exception of an artist who broke every barrier in the art, pushed the medium so far beyond its limitations, and yet, as of today, few artists are yet able to match the technical sophistication and aesthetic he was attempting to create.” Charles S. King, Spoken Through Clay