Small polychrome bowl

  • Nampeyo 

Small polychrome bowl, around 1930.

Signed on the base "Nampeyo," probably by a relative, this bowl with a very faded design exemplifies the decline in quality of Hopi pottery during the 1920s when mass markets needed to be satisfied. Although anthropologist Ruth Bunzel, visiting Hopi in 1924 and 1925, found Nampeyo’s works to be "technically superior to that of any other Hopi potter," she found the overall quality of all Hopi wares, including Nampeyo’s, to be "abominable." While we know Nampeyo was still producing excellent work at this time, out of economic necessity she was providing for a two-tiered market, one for the general public and the other for more discriminating patrons.