Tafoya, Margaret – Large Red Water Jar with Carved Avanyu (1965) with Ribbon

12.75"w x 16.5"h

$ 18,000.00

This is a very large water jar by Margaret Tafoya.  The jar is from 1965 and is it is carved with a water serpent as the design.  The jar is deeply carved and the water serpent encircles the entire shoulder. The style of the Avanyu is much closer to some of her designs from the 1930s.  Some of the avanyu’s from earlier had the lighting shaped horn and more angular patterns. Margaret was a unique force among potters as there seems to be unlimited creativity in shape and design within her pottery.  The neck and base are fully polished. The jar is fired red.  While Margaret made both red and black fired pieces, there are always fewer early red pieces, as they were harder to fire to get a great coloration.  One other interesting aspect to this jar is that near the base there is a hole, that it could have been made into a lamp.  That is not unusual for her pieces from this time.  While many people have the hole filled, when they are original to the piece, I think they add to the historic importance.  It is also important to see that they weren’t actually used as lamps (which is often the case, as with this jar), so that there isn’t any scratching on the rim.  How can we tell if they are original? They would cut a hole near the base before the piece was slipped or fired.  On this jar, you can see the red clay slip when you look at the hole.  Interestingly, not only would Margaret make pieces to be lamps, but Alcario (her husband) would make and paint the lampshades for them!  This jar also has a blue ribbon from the 1965 Gallup Ceremonials.  At the time, Ceremonials was “THE” event during the year when artists would compete for ribbons.  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.  It is definitely an important historic piece by Margaret Tafoya, as well as being an elegant example of her creativity in clay.