Sue Williams made Pot with Applied Bird and Arrow Decoration using traditional Navajo techniques, but she gave her design a contemporary twist. Traditional Navajo pottery typically has little ornamentation, apart from a decorative band, called a biyo’, just below the rim. A small break in the biyo’ called the atin (“the way out”) enables the potter’s life force to escape from the pot. The Navajo believe that during the process of creation the potter’s spirit is transferred to the vessel; thus it would be bad luck to close the circle and trap the maker’s spirit within the pot. In this piece, Williams does away with both features and gives her geometric designs some sparkle by embedding glitter in the pitch coating.
Pot with Applied Bird and Arrow Decoration
- ca. 1990
- 17 1⁄4 x 15 1⁄2 in. (43.8 x 39.4 cm) diam.
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson
- Mediums Description
- fired clay with piñon pitch
- Animal – bird
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI