North America; United States; Southwest; New Mexico; Santa Clara Pueblo
Double shoulder jar, ca. 1900-1940
Ceramic; earthenware; burnished with slip
Overall: 12 1/2 in x 14 in; 31.8 cm x 35.6 cm
Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, Mount Holyoke College
MH SK K.110
The characteristic stylized bear paw motif repeated on the neck of this jar suggests it was made by Sara Fina Tafoya at Santa Clara Pueblo, about 30 miles northwest of Santa Fe. Tafoya was one of the first living Puebloan potters to be celebrated by collectors and she helped usher in a wave of ceramic revival and creativity in the region.
Tafoya drew upon traditional methods and forms but was also innovative. Her work and success in the marketplace had a lasting effect on the future potters in her family (her daughter Margaret Tafoya’s work is to the right) and surrounding Pueblo communities. Seen alongside earlier and later vessels, Tafoya’s pot is an important bridge between the historical and contemporary.
-Aaron Miller, Associate Curator of Visual and Material Culture, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2017)