Artist Media Series
Betty Manygoats is known for distinctive Dine (Navajo) pottery with its “folk art” feel to the designs. Around 1978 she began using the horned lizard as a design on her pottery. The scales on the lizards are created using a bobby pin! This wedding vase is Betty’s signature shape with the elongated neck and then double spouts. There are 32 horned lizards, each one seeming to scale the sides of the vessel! The piece has been traditionally fired and there are some beautiful color variations from the heat of the fire! After the vase is fired, it is covered in pinon pitch in the manner of traditional Navajo pottery. The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “BM.” Betty has won numerous awards for her pottery over the years. It can also be found in museums throughout the southwest.
Why the horned lizard? “In the Diné culture Horned Toad is addressed as “grandpa” (shicheii). It possesses spiritual power. When you see one, pick it up and rub it on your chest and say, “I will be in good health and harmony.” If you have corn pollen sprinkle it as an offering and then let the horned lizard loose where you found it. You will then have good health and harmony. It is believed that the horned toad is dressed with an armored shield, which is called arrowhead. The spiky horns on the body represent the arrowheads. This protects the horned toad from predators. It was placed on earth with songs and prayers so that in the future the Diné would utilize it. The Diné still know and use its sacred prayers and songs for protection.” Traditional Dine Teachings on Wildlife (1998)