Hopi Nampeyo storage jar auctions for $86,500 in San Francisco

A fine and rare Hopi polychrome storage jar by Nampeyo (1860-1942) attracted the highest bids from collectors at Bonhams' Native American Art auction, held June 3 in San Francisco.

Hopi polychrome storage jug
The vase was created by Nampeyo, one of the most famous artists in all Hopi culture

The jar was created by the famous Hopi potter Nampeyo and is a particularly strong example, warranting the $86,500 sale price.

While there are other vase jars or high-shouldered vessels such as this one by Nampeyo, this example is far more artistically superior than most, decorated with three images of the eagle tail compostion and marked by broad spirals and geometric patterns.

Nampeyo's image is often used as a symbol of the Hopi people, with the renowned potter attracting huge numbers of tourists to her workshop. It is her influence that led to the revival of the pottery making tradition among the Hopi, which still continues today.

Haida totem pole
The totem pole is carved from argillite, a popular medium in First Nations carving

Bringing the second highest bids of the sale was a monumental totem pole from the Haida people of British Columbia. Selling for $48,750, the pole comprises a seated bear grasping a human, with a wolf holding a frog, and a raven with a salmon in its grip.

The pole was consigned from a British family, with the vendor stating that it had been brought back from Canada by his distant cousin Mr William Browne. Brown had made his fortune working on the Canadian railways and brought numerous artefacts back from his travels.

In May, Sotheby's sold the spectacular collection of Navajo blankets compiled by late singer Andy Williams with excellent results, led by a $221,000 first-phase chief's blanket.

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