(Circa 1890- 1955)
Tribal Affiliation: Hopi
Paqua Naha is more commonly known as the “Old Frog Woman.” She was the first to sign her pottery with her frog hallmark, as Paqua means frog in Hopi. As the matriarch of the famed Naha/Navasie family of potters (many of whom have adopted some variation of her frog hallmark) Naha was prolific from 1910-1955. Early in her career as a potter, she was known for her yellow ware pottery. It wasn’t until late in life when she is credited with developing the white-slipped pottery her family continues making to this day. She developed the white ware around 1951-2, shortly before her death. There are very few pieces of Paqua Naha pottery with white slip, as she did not make many.
The use of a white slip is a revival of the white slip characteristic of the old 19th century Polacca Polychrome Style. During the late 1920s, the Navasie family perfected the white slip, changing the structure of the slip just enough so it would not crackle during the firing process, as it had been prone to do. Paqua Naha, for most of her career, produced polychrome decorated wares on a yellow or cream slip. It was not until the last three years of her life that she developed the white ware that is so closely associated with the Frog Woman family of potters.
Paqua Naha was the original Frog Woman from Hopi Pueblo and the mother of Joy Navasie (also known as Frog Woman). Paqua Naha’s hallmark is distinguishable from her daughters because she used straight-lined feet (toes) and Joy uses webbed feet in her hallmark frog signature. Granddaughters Marianne and Grace, use a modified version of the frog glyph on their pottery. Helen Naha, her daughter-in-law, became known as Featherwoman for her use of a feather glyph. Many members of the Naha/Navasie family are exceptional potters, and with their pieces highly collected.
Naha’s pieces are typically found in private collections because her pottery was created for the tourist market; however the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, and the Heard Museum, Phoenix, do have a select few of her pieces in their permanent collections. She was an outstanding and well-respected potter throughout her entire productive life.