Qoyawayma, Al – Polychrome Three Sided Carved Jar with Mural and Architectural Designs & Lid

5.5"w x 9.5"h (w/ lid)

$ 15,000.00

This is a complex carved three-sided lidded jar by Al Qoyawayma.  This jar is coil-built, carved, and polished with various colors of clay slip.  The sides of the jar are not flat, but slightly rounded and each is separated by a band of polished red. One section is architectural with impressed doorways, star designs near the base, and a very detailed surface for the structure of the walls.  As the piece is turned, there is a section with a stylized bird and prayer feather.  The bird has thin bands that are polished red. The prayer feathers to the right are impressed into the clay.  The third side is one of Al’s most complex styles.  It is carved in various levels and is inspired by the Kiva murals.  Areas are polished tan, red, brown, and blue/green.  It is quite spectacular in person and Al says it was amazingly time-consuming to create!  The lid fits perfectly and it is also fully polished red.  Just thinking about the amount of time to carve so many levels into the clay, then polish them in various colors and finally create the cliff dwelling section is why this piece is so exceptional.  It is creative in form and design and certainly a style that is easily identified as unique to Al Qoywayama.  The box is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Al Qoyawayma”.  It is a new piece from 2023.  The last photo is one of Al with the piece and following are photos of the piece in process. 

Al wrote of this piece:

This is a three-sided polychrome vase with a lid. “Polychrome” being the several multi-colored clay slips.  This piece is of Hopi clay coil construction with carved designs based on Sikyatki styled iconography, Sikyatki being a village of the Coyote Clan occupation starting around 1300 AD. One additional new element added to this piece is the architectural or cliff dwelling type motif. The stonework is carved or incised and requires 3 phases to bring into the stone-like quality.  The base slip is the classic tan or buff yellow, and the orange, red and brighter yellow colors are a mixture of found southwestern native clay refined into the slip or paint.

The final surfaces are then stone polished and when fired become bright and the polished sheen. This shape, tapering towards the top, is unique in Southwestern pottery.  There are no flat panels on each face, rather everything is curved. The edges create sharp distinctions to each section and visually create a “leading edge”.  This idea conforms to one Coyote Clan’s traditional duty of “leading the way” for others, such as in education or just as in trailblazing.