Roller, Toni – Wide Shoulder Jar with Carved Avanyu (1979)
Toni Roller is known for her classic shapes and exquisite stone polished pottery. A daughter of Margaret Tafoya, Toni has developed her own distinctive style. The jar has a sharp shoulder and a short neck. The top of the shoulder is deeply carved with an avanyu (water serpent). Toni said of this design:
The water serpent, we were told, it represents life. It represents the water, which is important to life, to people, plants, and animals. The water design is very important to put on pots to honor that serpent. We used to ask, “What is the water serpent?” We were told the water serpent is in the rivers, the big rivers. At one time, when my mother was young, there were no bridges to cross over the Rio Grande. They were always told that if you see a water serpent, your life is going to be long. She did see one laying on the rock. She said it was huge, snakelike, and she said she just stared at it and couldn’t holler for anyone else to see. If you look at the serpent design, it has all the weather designs. The lightning on the tongue of the serpent, and there are mountain designs and rain designs and all the weather elements. .” Toni Roller, Spoken Through Clay
The jar was traditionally fired a dark black. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It was made in 1979. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Toni Roller”.