Artists and Pieces from Southwestern Pottery - Anasazi to Zuni


If it's brown, rough and shiny, it's probably Navajo brownware from Cow Springs, Arizona.

Traditional name: Diné. “The People”.  The Navajo nation is one of largest Native American reservations in the United States. It surrounds the Hopi Reservation, occupies a huge chunk of Northeastern Arizona, and bleeds into Southern Utah and Northwestern New Mexico. Before settling in the southwest sometime in the mid 14th century, the Navajo / Diné were considered a nomadic Athapascan tribe. Like other hunter gathers, pottery was not an integral part of their developing culture.

In the mid 1900’s the Navajo began to produce an undecorated utilitarian brownware covered by a shiny pinion pitch coating added for waterproofing that was made by a few families in the Cow Springs area. Bill Beaver and the Shonto Trading Post began to encourage the Navajo potters although rugs and jewelry remain the predominant focus of most Navajo artists. Beaver stressed innovation and soon an array of different styles evolved. Today, Navajo pottery has joined the mainstream. Resin-coated brownware, wedding vases decorated with horned toads, three-spouted wedding vases, giant bears and mud toys have become prevalent.

Navajo 1547 – Elsie Benally (most likely) - Mud Sheep Figurine

Mud Sheep Figurine

Elsie Benally Details

Navajo 1546 – Artist Unknown - Mud Truck Figurine

Mud Truck Figurine

Unknown Artist Details

Navajo 1514 - Louise Goodman - Polished Brown Storage Jar

Polished Brown Storage Jar

Louise Goodman Details