Tso, Faye – Large Canteen with Horned Lizard and Incised Cloud Designs (1980s)

8.5"w x 10.5"w x 10"h

$ 900.00

Faye Tso was one of the first Navajo potters to use unconventional imagery in her pottery.  While traditional Navajo pottery has very little decoration, Tso applied images of corn maidens, lizards, and dancers to the surface of the clay.  Her grandson, Jarred Tso, is also an important younger potter who is carrying on this amazing family tradition.  This is a large canteen. It is coil-built and round in shape. There are handles on the side and an extended spout.  Note on the bottom she added two round pieces of clay to create the angle at which it sits!  On the top of the piece, there is a single, large horned lizard.  You can read more about the importance of Horned Lizards in Navajo culture and art below. There are also four incised clouds.  It is an exceptional piece of her creative art.  The canteen was traditionally fired and is covered at the end with pinon pitch.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Faye Tso”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  Definitely a great piece of Navajo pottery history!

Why the horned lizard?  “In the Diné culture, Horned Toad is addressed as “grandpa” (shicheii). It possesses spiritual power. When you see one, pick it up and rub it on your chest and say, “I will be in good health and harmony.” If you have corn pollen sprinkle it as an offering and then let the horned lizard loose where you found it. You will then have good health and harmony. It is believed that the horned toad is dressed with an armored shield, which is called an arrowhead. The spiky horns on the body represent the arrowheads. This protects the horned toad from predators. It was placed on earth with songs and prayers so that in the future the Diné would utilize it. The Diné still know and use its sacred prayers and songs for protection.”  Traditional Dine Teachings on Wildlife (1998)