Old Hopi Bowl
This Hopi bowl, dating from the late 19th to early 20th century, measures 9.5″ in diameter and 4″ tall. The patina on the surface is a rich butter honey color. The red center is a rarely seen design element, making me consider that this bowl may have been for ceremonial use. The bottom of the bowl has old inventory numbers as seen in the final photo on this post. The bowl is priced at $2200.
This Hopi bowl has some wonderful characteristics. While the construction, slip and burnishing are all classic Hopi manufacture, the designs tend more towards Zuni, particularly on the inside. The interior center has a large, solid red circle with two capped spirals, or birds, emanating outward joined by either their tails or some other symbology I don’t know about. The exterior is a geometric system of triangles mixed with feathers.
It’s possible that a Zuni person married into a Hopi household and this creation is a marriage of the two, literally, in design. My understanding of Native designs is poor, but then I’m not Native, so the symbology to me is seen in an abstract form. I know many non-Native people that want to attribute all sorts of ideas to symbols, most on the romantic side, and most of the stories I hear sound like abbreviated notions bent with fantasy. While I see the seduction in falling into this path, I like considering that these images are from the creator and it’s not for me to claim the meaning. I react to the symbols in my own way and this is often where I find the pleasure of a Native object. The design on the interior of this bowl is wonderful in its movement and focus and I don’t tire of the dance these figures make around the red center.
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