Sahmie, Ida – Large “Day and Night Chant” Jar with 16 Figures (2021)
This is one of the large new pieces we have had from Ida Sahmie. It has the Night Chant Dance with eight male Yei-bi-chi dancers on one side of the jar. The other side has the Day Chant Dance with eight male Yei-bi-Chi dancers on the other side. There are a total of sixteen figures on the jar! It is not often that we get in a Night and Day Chant jar! On the side with the Night Dancers, the background area is fully painted with bee-weed (a plant) to make it black and there are stars in the sky. On the Day Chant side, there are mesas, clouds, and birds in the background. Separating them are vertical bands with a sash design and large corn plants. Ida said this was the first time she had used the corn design in this manner on her pottery. The figures on both sides are painted with clay slips and bee-weed and then etched into the clay to create the small designs. The rim of the jar has a cloud design. Ida said of this design:
“The night and day dancer do about the same dance. On the side is a sash design. It takes me so much time to etch the designs. I etch each figure before the jar is fired. After they are etched then I use the slips to create the colors. After all the painting is done, then I fire it outside.”
Note all the detail on the figures. Each has a different dance skirt design and she even adds the shadows below each figure. Ida is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and she has won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market. She is the only Navajo potter creating this unique style of ethnographic imagery on her pottery using these materials. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Ida Sahmie, 2021”. Quite exceptional!