Manygoats, Elizabeth – Tree Jar with Navajo Girl, Brown Dog, and Sheep (2008)
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 jar is one of her most famous shapes. The “jar” is in the shape of a tree. First, check out the top of the tree as she textured the leaves and then painted them! The top of the tree, the trunk, and the jar are all hollow, with the opening for the piece on the bottom. The top of the shoulder is flat and there is a dog, sheep, and a Navajo girl sitting on a Navajo blanket. The detail and creativity of such a complex clay piece are quite charming. The various colors are added to highlight the imagery. The jar is traditionally fired to create variations in color to the clay 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, “Elizabeth M.”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. Elizabeth has won numerous awards for her pottery over the years. It can also be found in museums throughout the southwest.