Traditional Navajo pottery has changed much over the centuries. At one time they made not only very large storage jars, but also painted pottery. Then, sometime in the 1800s, the hataathli or Medicine Men decreed, for whatever reason, that painted pottery was off limits - too dangerous to make. Plainware then dominated. Most were coated with pinyon pitch to make them waterproof. Cooking pots, drums and serving bowls were made. It was disappearing by the late 1940s, with only one family making much pottery. It was revived in the 1950s largely to the efforts of Bill Beaver, a trader fluent in Navajo, who liked the pottery and worked closely with the potters. Modern Navajo pottery ranges from traditional items to folk art with after-fire acrylic paint to highly polished, beautifully proportioned art pottery by potters like Alice Cling, Elizabeth Manygoats (famous for her horned lizard-adorned vessels), Sue Williams, and Samuel Manymules as well as Lucy McKelvey, Lorraine Williams and Christine Nofchissey McHorse.


Standing 5.5 inches high and measuring 8.5 inches across, this interesting bowl with a mica-flecked slip was made by Monte White, A Navajo artist living at Hopi. He calls it his Six Direction Mountain Offering bowl. $120.


This vesssel by Alice Cling was collected by the late Bill Beaver who played an important role in the revival/survival o tradtional Navajo pottery. 6 inches tall, it bears Bill's note as to when it was collected and the fact that it was only the second vessel she made using hematite and even sourcing the hematite. A collector's item. $800. (Tucson)