Youngblood, Mela – Double Shoulder Water Jar with Bear Paws (1979) & Ribbon

5.5"w x 6"h

$ 1,800.00

This is a classic double shoulder water jar by Mela Youngblood.  She was a daughter of Margaret Tafoya and began making pottery in the late 1960s.  She quickly achieved a distinctive style for her work.  Each piece of her work was very highly polished and when carved the edges are distinctly rounded.  This water jar has the classic form of her mother, Margaret Tafoya.  It is a fluid form with a double shoulder or “rainbow ridge”.  It is not just an additional band of clay added to the jar, but it is actually part of the form, which is part of the difficulty.  It has been said of the rainbow ridge:

“Sarafina was inspired by the legends of Santa Clara Pueblo, which were incorporated into her pottery. On the shoulder of her water jars, a second raised section or ‘double shoulder’ created a ‘rainbow band.’ This band was a prayer to keep the water from evaporating from the jar.” —CHARLES S. KING, 2008, Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya

The jar also has three bear paws impressed into the clay.  The bear paws are symbolic of a bear that led the Pueblo people to water during a drought.  The entire piece is fully polished and fired a silvery black.  The coloration from the firing is exceptional!  The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  It is signed on the bottom, “Mela Youngblood”.  There is a blue ribbon from the 1979 New Mexico State Fair that accompanies the piece.  It’s a great additional piece of provenance to a striking jar!