Hopi pottery symbols by Alex Patterson

By Alex Patterson

Alexander M. Stephen, a self-taught anthropologist and an affiliate of Indian dealer Thomas Keam, lived one of the Hopi through the overdue 19th century. Having first-class rapport with the tribal elders, Stephen requested them the that means of symbols at the pots he was once gathering for Keam and recorded those interpretations in a list entitled "Pottery of Tusayan: Catalogue of the Keam Collection." This manuscript is outlined the following in its entirety for the 1st time and is illustrated from the Keam assortment, that is now housed on the Peabody Museum, Harvard college. Alex Patterson then contains Stephen’s interpretations and cultural tales right into a distinctive alphabetically prepared advisor to the eighty-four symbols at the accumulated pots.

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Stephen, sketch artist, was running true to form. But Pottery of Tusayan presented new mysteries. When it was archived at NAA by J. Walter Fewkes, who had become active with its predecessor organization, the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) in the late 1890s, Fewkes had penned a handwritten note to the manuscript (see first page of Pottery of Tusayan). Among other things it said, "This copy of Stephen's original Ms. of the Catalogue of the Keam Collection contains sketches, probably by Holmes .

The Peabody Museum has a rule that no photograph may be published of items in their collection, unless it is done by the Peabody's own photographer at the researcher's expense. Due to the large number of illustrations of both pots and symbols in the work (almost four hundred), the cost of using the Peabody's photographer became prohibitive. Our drawings are strictly in black-and-white and do not reflect the subtle impact on symbol design that can be achieved by polychrome painting. See W. H. Holmes's paintings for a sense of this subtlety.

Transition and Modern Ware. Stephen in this chapter refers to some of the vessels as Modern Ware. " We had planned to include the text of this chapter in this work, as it includes twenty-one Referenced Pots of which twelve have been found. Unfortunately, the Page 14 Peabody Museum would not allow us to publish the entire text of this chapter as they had given prior publication permission to some other unnamed scholar. As a result we have only included our drawings of Transition and Modern Ware Referenced Pots and their symbols, with Stephen's specific comments on these symbols.

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