Tafoya, Margaret – 14″ Wide Double Avanyu Jar (1950s)

14"w x 10.5"h

$ 10,800.00

This is a very unusually designed large jar by Margaret Tafoya.  It is from the 1950s. The jar has a round shoulder and a short neck.  It is deeply carved around the shoulder while the remainder of the piece is fully polished.  The carved area is what is so unusual. There are two avanyu (water serpent) as the design on the jar!  There is a larger, angular one and a smaller, rounded one.  The angular one is a style that she used in the 1940s and 50s.  There are additional clouds, rain, and wind designs connecting the two avanyu.  The style of design is very angular, which indicates that it was designed by Margaret and not by her husband Alcario.  The carving is deep and sharp.  The entire surface is fully polished.  It is always amazing to me to consider that pieces like this not only survived the drying stage but the firing as well!  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Margaret Tafoya”.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  There are a few light surface scratches.  

“My mom had seen a water serpent when she was very young.  It was known to our people, that if you saw something like that, you would have a very long life.  That is what grandfather told our mom, that she would have a very long life.  They always talked about, the old people, that anywhere there was water it would be controlled by a water serpent or spirit.  That is why water is always associated with this design.  I heard stories that they say water serpents should go to the left.  That’s what she told me.  That someday, when the world turns, it will turn to the right.  But she (Margaret) did them both ways.”  Shirley Tafoya, Mary Ester Archuleta, Born of Fire