Quotskuyva, Dextra – Bowl with Katsina Face and Moths (1970s)
Dextra Quostkuyva Nampeyo is certainly one of the most influential Hopi-Tewa potters of the last 50 years. Not only has she taught numerous potters (Steve Lucas, Yvonne Lucas, Les Namingha, Loren Ami, Hisi Nampeyo, to name just a few), but her creative designs and forms have dramatically influenced the pottery itself. This is an earlier bowl from the 1970s. It is thin-walled and a classic shape with a sharp shoulder and sloping sides. The design is a classic one created by Nampeyo of Hano from Sikyatki designs. It was described in Painted Perfection as:
“Faces: Elements of this design resemble faces. However, the motifs at left and right, each composed of two red forms flanking a patterned light triangle, are derived from Sikyatki polychrome motifs of winged insects, probably moths.’ Painted Perfection
The design has often been referred to as a Katsina Face pattern. They are easy to visualize as are the moths when looking down on the bowl. The painting is her famous early use of thin lines and hachure patterns. Early on it was these VERY fine lines that set her apart from other potters. The red areas are stone polished. The bowl was traditionally fired, creating strong blushes on the surface. This bowl is signed on the bottom, “Dextra Quotskuyva (Nampeyo)”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. Definitely a classic of her early work in terms of design and form.
Dextra said of her early pottery:
“I was watching my mom (Rachel Nampeyo) all the time, and I was picking up everything she was doing. I found my own polishing stones. I would collect clays. My mother didn’t like it when I did different types of designs. She was different in her ideas. My mother, she went so far as to say that whatever our great-grandmother had reproduced from old designs—those were important designs. We’re supposed to have the basics, she’d say. The big six. Don’t part from that. The six traditional designs. One of them is the migration design, the eagle feather design, the hummingbird design, the horned lizard, the moth design, and parrots. Those are the ones that started with Lesso and Nampeyo. The designs are mainly from Sikyatki people—it was their pottery that was dug out when they were excavating. They were beautiful designs they had used quite a bit.” Dextra Quotskuyva, Spoken Through Clay