Sahmie, Ida – “Male & Female Yei” Jar
This is a very traditionally inspire jar by Ida Sahmie. The jar has both male and female yei figures. The male figures have square heads and the female figures have round heads. The Yei figures are often seen in sandpaintings and rugs. “Yei” (pronounced “yay”) is the Navajo name for the benevolent supernatural beings who bring their healing power to medicinal ceremonies still performed today. Here, Ida has painted it on a stone polished tile using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black. The figures have detailed clothing and even jewelry. Around the rim is a basket design. The face is etched and then painted with white clay. The jar was traditionally fired and it is signed on the back, “Ida Sahmie”. She is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and Ida continues to make beautifully formed pottery with wonderfully complex designs. 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 pottery.