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Unknown: Shoulder Jar with Sipapu and Migration Symbols

Nyla Sahmie Nampeyo

1985, clay

Gift of Dan ’69 and Nancy Schneider

Even though the colors on this simple shoulder jar are rather subdued, the intricate designs and rich symbolism exude a sophisticated appearance. Born in the 1950s on the Hopi Reservation in Northeastern Arizona, Nyla Nampeyo has been a potter for over fifty years. She uses ancient techniques that were passed down to her for five generations. She mostly uses clay and precise hand coiling techniques to create her designs and then paints over them. This particular jar features migration symbols such as the migration swirl, as well as sipapu, which are small indentations or holes that are often present on the floors of Hopi pithouses. These sipapu in turn symbolize portals that the ancestors of different Pueblo peoples used to enter into the present world.

Julia Hearn ‘21