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History Of Hopi Indian Potters

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History Of Hopi Indian Potters

Contact zones were described in Mary Louise Pratt’s article "Arts of the Contact Zone" as being those points in time in which different cultural groups came together. Positive influences between the groups lead to knowledge and understanding, whereas negative influences lead to conflict and miscomprehension. The history of the Hopi Indians is intertwined with the various contact zones between the Hopi Indians and other cultural groups. It is this series of contact zone experiences that has shaped the development of Hopi pottery.

The history of Hopi pottery begins with the history of the Native American Hopi Indians and the many peoples that came into contact with their culture and traditions. The earliest pieces of Hopi pottery were made in A.D. 500. It is to this same point in time to which the history of the Hopi Indians can be chronologically traced. Believed to be part of the Pueblo Indians, the Hopi Indians are the surviving members of the Kayenta branch of the Anasazi. The Anasazi, in turn, are the prehistoric inhabitants of what is today the northern Southwest part of the United States (Bartlett 2). This descendant connection between the Hopi and the Anasazi Indians has led to the geographic connection of the two. The Hopi Indians are therefore the only Pueblo Indians to live in the state of Arizona. They occupy three mesas on their reservation, which is in close proximity to the Grand Canyon in the northern Southwest (Bassman 1).

Traced back to A.D. 500, the first pieces of Hopi pottery discovered were described as being gray with crude black decoration. The Anasazi influence soon followed for the pottery was then quickly redescribed as white pottery decorated in black...

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...ment in the quality of Hopi pottery. From the prehistoric times of the Anasazi crude designs to the Sikyatki revival of life-form designs, Hopi pottery has become economically feasible for the Hopi potter to spend time and effort into making each piece, for the pottery will bring success and wealth. Further research will perhaps give us a better understanding of the many ways Hopi pottery has been influenced by the contact zone between the Hopi Indians and other non-Native American groups.

Works Cited

Bartlett, Katherine. "A History of Hopi Pottery." Plateau-Flagstaff, Arizona 49 (1977): 2-13.

Bassman, Theda. Treasures of the Hopi. Flagstaff: Northland, 1997.

McGee, Ron. "McGee’s Indian Art Gallery: Hopi Kachinas, Jewelry, Pottery, Baskets." 1999. http://www.hopiart.com/about.htm

Pratt, Mary Louise. "Arts of the Contact Zone." Profession 91: 33-40.
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