Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Bowl with Avanyu and Carved Rim
This is a creative polychrome bowl by Russell Sanchez. He continues to be one of the true innovators and revivalists in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished, and etched. This bowl is carved on the rim with a mountain pattern, which is then polished black. The sides of the bowl are slipped white and there is an etched avanyu (water serpent) as the design. Note the black and red bands etched and painted along the back of the avanyu! Russell says he was inspired by this style in the polychrome pottery of Maria Martinez & Popovi Da (see last two photos). The avanyu has a turquoise inset eye. Below the avanyu is a band of checkerboard black and matte sections. Near the neck is a single band of turquoise hei-shi beads. Below the avanyu are two bands of jet hei-shi beads. Near the base, the jar is fully polished red. The colorations of black, red, and white are all seen in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920. His deep red clay is another recent addition to his clay art. As Russell continues to innovate from historic designs, he says, “Tradition means moving forward and adding to it. You keep moving forward. If we stayed stagnant we would no longer exist.” The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay. It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives.