Tahbo, Mark – 14″ Wide Flat Top Bowl with Swirling Birds (1990)

14.5"w x 3.5"h

$ 6,000.00

This is a spectacular large jar by Mark Tahbo.  He was known not just for his painted pottery, but especially for the blushes on his pottery from the firing.  This bowl is from 1990.  It is a large piece with one of his classic shapes with a very wide shoulder and very flat top.  This form is derived from the ancient Sikyatki pottery and for Mark, it was always a challenge to make a piece with as wide a shoulder and flat a top as possible.  The challenge for the flat top is that the flatter the top, the more likely it would crack during firing or fall or warp when it was drying.  This bowl is painted with bee-weed (black) and a dark red clay slip. The bowl has four eagle tails painted on the top in a more modernist style.  Extending to the rim are four swirling birds.  Mark was often trying to modernize and create his own stylistic elements based on traditional designs.  The bowl was traditionally fired with exceptional blushes on the surface.  Mark was masterful at firing and always wanted to achieve dramatic blushes on the surface of his pottery.  When they turned out with variations like on this jar, from white to deep orange, he was the most pleased.   Mark told me about his plainware work:

“My first plainware pieces were done years ago. I was sure that these would be well received and gallery owner Charles King took a chance with them. They were an immediate hit!  I don’t do very much plainware for it has to be flawless.  The surface has to be free of all dips or air holes and the shape has to be elegant on its own, as there is no design to distract the eye.  The colors achieved on the pots are truly amazing.  Each piece is fired outdoors using sheep dung and coals.  I love it!”

The jar is signed on the bottom “Mark Tahbo”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  It is an exciting and visually dynamic piece of his pottery, especially at this size!