Herrera, Estephanita – Owl Figure (1930)
This may be on of the most iconic pieces we have had by Estephanita Herrera. She was the grandmother of Ada Suina and Snowflake Flower. She is considered one of the earliest of the contemporary Cochiti potters to create jars with birds and animals attached. Her style of lizard effigy ollas influenced other Cochiti potters, including Seferina Ortiz with her lizard canteens and Martha Arquero with her frogs. Her animals, like this owl, were often anthropomorphized in style with a combination of animal and human characteristics. There is a similar owl in the School of American Research permanent collection. The piece is coil built and slipped with white clay. The “feathers’ are painted with wild spinach. Her work is certainly a reflection of the Monos figures and other early Cochiti Pueblo clay figurative work. This piece was traditionally fired and it is signed on the bottom, “Stefanita, 1930”. It is quite extraordinary that it has survived so well over time! Definitely a historically important piece of Cochiti pottery from the 1930’s!
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