Da, Tony – Red Plate with Antelope (1970)
This is an unusual smaller plate by Tony Da. Most of the smaller plates made by Tony Da between 1969 and 71 were either gunmetal or black-and-sienna in coloration. He made very few of the smaller plates in red. This one has an antelope as the design. Tony would etch the designs into the clay before the pieces were fired. The animals were inspired by the Mimbres imagery from the 1100s. However, as with much of his work, Tony drew inspiration from these ancient works but did not copy them. His animals became “spirit animals” and note how the feet of the antelope are its tracks. The animal extends backward from the tracks to create a distinctive animal with a heartline. Around the rim are two painted lines, in contrast to the incised imagery. Tony 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. His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought-after by collectors and museums alike. This plate is signed on the back in the clay, “DA”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. This is certainly a rarity and a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this plate reflects the impact he had and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery. The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!