Lonewolf, Joseph – Mimbres Mountain Lion and Ram Melon Rib Seedpot (1985)
Beginning in the early 1970s, Joseph Lonewolf revolutionized the world of Santa Clara pottery by incorporating his sgraffito (lightly etching the surface of the clay) and incised (more deeply cut into the clay) designs. This piece is from 1985. It is very unusual on several levels. The seedpot is carved with 20 melon vertical melon ribs. They are fully polished. Carved around them is the yearly symbol for 1985, which is a star. On the top of the seedpot there is a mountain lion and ram etched into the clay. They are highlighted with blue, green, red, and white clay slips. The background area surrounding them was etched away before the firing creating a linear pattern. The piece was fired a deep black. Joseph always made fewer black pieces than red pieces. As well, this is one of the only ones I have seen with carved melon ribs. The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Joseph Lonewolf” and the date of 1985. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.