Youvella, Wallace – Black and Sienna Seedpot with Aholi Katsina (1980s)

2.75"w x 2.5"h

$ 775.00

This is a very unusual piece by Wallace Youvella.  He was the husband of noted Hopi-Tewa potter Iris Nampeyo.  Wallace was one of the first three men at Hopi in the mid-1970’s to begin making pottery (the others were Mark Tahbo and Thomas Polacca).  Interestingly, Thomas and Wallace (who were brothers-in-law) both started with traditional Hopi-Tewa designs but met resistance from the women potters, so began making pieces that were either fully polished and etched or carved.  This piece is coil built, stone polished, etched, and fired black and then the design was two-toned sienna.  The piece is fully stone polished to a high shine. The design etched into the clay is an Ahola katsina.  It is said of this katsina:

The Ahola is a Hopi Chief Katsina and considered an elder and very wise. The Ahola appears at the Bean Dance (Powamuya) ceremony to open the Katsina ceremonial season. The Ahola brings prayers for a long and healthful life. He and Ahola Mana go from house to house making their appearance. On the outside walls of each home, the Ahola draws four horizontal marks with corn meal. The women inside the house come out and sprinkle the Ahola with cornmeal and at the same time take some corn seeds from the Ahola Mana’s basket. The two leave and go to the kiva entrance and face one another. He holds his staff out for support and strength and bends his right knee and continues kneeling and standing in rhythmic motion. He calls out to the kiva chief and the two discuss the arrival of the Katsinam for the year.

There is the Katsina face in the center with a human figure to the lower right.  The sienna coloration is striking on this piece and dramatic with the designs on the katsina.  This piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Wallace Youvella”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.