Untitled Hopi Jar, ca. 1900
natural pigments and clays
Museum purchase, 1932, John and Linda Comstock and the Abigail Van Vleck Charita-ble Trust. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology.
This large polychrome jar made by the Hopi artist Nampeyo is an example of her early work that fused an innovative sense of design with invented elements reminiscent of those from the prehistoric Hopi past. During the 1880s, anthropologists and traders in the Southwest thought that the quality of Native-made goods had declined. Beginning at the Hopi Pueblos in Arizona, traders and scholars encouraged artists to make works that “revived” the “authentic” imagery made before the arrival of Spanish colonists and missionaries.
The reappearance of Hopi arts coincided with the transition from a subsistence econ-omy to a market economy. Soon, many Hopi artists were again making pottery, weavings, and baskets, but for sale to outsiders rather than for use within the community. By 1905, the Fred Harvey Company sold these goods in its retail outlets such as the Indian Room in the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Hopi House at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. This large social network of makers, dealers, supporters, and anthropologists represents the first of many “artist colonies” that would develop in the American Southwest.