Manygoats, Elizabeth – Open Bowl with Horned Lizards & Corn
Elizabeth Manygoats is a daughter of noted potter Betty Manygoats. She is known for her folk-art style pottery with figures in relief or applique on the surface. Elizabeth says that she often emphasizes Navajo women and their daily lives in her work because “They’re the ones I look up to.” This bowl, however, is inspired by the work of her mother, Betty, who was famous for her pottery with Horned Lizards. Why the Horned Lizards?
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)
This open bowl has five horned lizards in relief. They are separated by four sculpted stalks of corn. The entire piece is traditionally fired and there are blushes on the surface. After the firing, the entire piece is covered in pine pitch in the manner of traditional Navajo pottery. The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “EM.” Elizabeth has won numerous awards for her pottery over the years. It can also be found in museums throughout the southwest.