Williams, Lorraine – 19″ Tall Storage Jar with Four Yei-bi-Chei Figures (1980s)

14"w x 19"h

$ 2,500.00

This is an exceptional large storage jar by Lorraine Williams.  While she no longer makes pieces this size, the shape and scale of this piece are striking!  The jar has a rounded base and straight sides.  The shoulder is very sharp and comes across an angle of the short neck.  Technically, this is amazing how she was able to achieve such symmetry at this scale!  At the neck are star patterns.  Above the shoulder are mountains and clouds. Around the side of the jar are four Yei-bi-Chie figures.

“Yei bichei (Yébîchai), or “maternal grandfather of the yei”, is another name of Talking God who often speaks on behalf of the other Holy People. (He, along with Growling God, Black God, and Water Sprinkler, were the first four Holy People encountered by the Navajo.).  “Yei” (pronounced “yay”) is the Navajo name for the benevolent supernatural beings who bring their healing power to medicinal ceremonies still performed today.  

Each figure is highly detailed and incised into the clay. They are each highlighted with color.   Separating them are star and mountain designs.  The jar has an amazing amount of design for the size!  It was traditionally fired creating a striking coloration.  After the firing, it is covered in pinon pitch, which is typical of all traditional Navajo pottery harkening back to when it was utilitarian.  Lorraine has won numerous awards for her pottery and has been featured in books such as “A Legacy of Generations”.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “LW”.  The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.