Polacca, Thomas – Jar with Grandmother Katsina and Corn (1990s)

7.5"w x 5"h

$ 1,000.00

This is an intricately carved jar by Thomas Polacca.  Thomas was a son of noted potter Fannie Nampeyo and a grandson of Nampeyo of Hano.  He is considered among the first men to begin making pottery at Hopi in the 1970s.  Interestingly, the men initially did not use the traditional Sikyatki designs but followed other directions in their pottery.  This jar is deeply carved with two Grandmother Katsinas.  The Grandmother Katsina is also called, “Hahay-i wu-uti”.  It is said of her:

“Grandmother Katsina could be thought of as the Mother Earth of the Hopi people. Her Hopi name is Hahay-i wu-uti, which translates into “pour water woman.”  She is often depicted pouring water out of a gourd from one hand. This represents the pouring of life around the world.  She appears during the Bean Dance (Powamuya), the Serpent Ceremony, and at Home Going (Niman). She speaks in a high voice and is very talkative. Flat carvings of the Grandmother Katsina are given to Hopi infants.”

They are both carved into the clay on the top of the jar.  One is holding a gourd and pouring out water.  The second one is watching.  Above them are cloud designs.  There is also a corn design on the side.  A few amazing things about this piece are the shawl of the Grandmother pouring the water is fully incised with small squares, representing corn!  Her arm also has corn designs. Below the water being poured from the gourd are more corn designs, three of which are etched with kernels.  The other areas in the background are incised with lines or geometric shapes.  The piece is very complicated and there is a beauty to how Thomas portrayed one of the most important Katsina figures. The bottom is slipped vertically to look more like wood.  It is very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Tom Polacca” with a corn plant for Corn Clan.  It is from the mid-1990s.