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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Ceramics: Crow Pot
Crow Pot

Crow Pot
Christine McHorse
kiln-fired and pit-fired micaceous clay with piñon pitch
16 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (41.3 x 32.1 cm) diam
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Gibson Fahnestock
"Beauty and simplicity is the basis of my work in clay and silver. The shiny earth and metal provide means of expression through the oldest of crafts." The artist, quoted in Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, ca. 1987-1998, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Navajo potter Christine McHorse uses sparkling mica clay from the mountains around Taos Pueblo in northern New Mexico. She breaks several Navajo traditions in her work by applying imagery to the clay and firing it in an electric kiln, but believes "I can make my own taboos and traditions" (Rosenak, Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia, 1990). Animals are important in Native American culture, and in these pieces McHorse has incorporated the crow, symbol of the gateway to the supernatural, and the wolf, which Navajos regard as a teacher of wisdom.

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