This seven-piece set is executed in stone-polished and matte-black slip. The pieces include Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, two Angels, a cow, and a donkey.
Paul and Dorothy Gutierrez, husband-and-wife artists from Santa Clara Pueblo, were among the first potters at Santa Clara to create Nativity sets. The couple is also known for their award-winning animal figures and storytellers. They began making Nativity sets in about 1970. Paul and Dorothy work as a team, with Dorothy forming the figures and Paul doing the polish and finishing work. Every step, from gathering clay to firing outside, follows traditional Santa Clara methods. “They come out different each time, with different faces. It’s nice,” Paul relates.
Joseph’s and Mary’s faces have been minimally sculpted, yet are charmingly expressive and left matte, to contrast with the polished areas. The winsome cow and donkey are highly polished, except for the donkey’s mane. Notice the folds of the figures’ robes, a simplified, graceful, and yet realistic detail. The Christ Child is snugly swaddled inside the cradle board, with only the head showing, and singing robustly in praise, along with everyone else. The combination of stone-polished and matte-finish on the various pieces is the typical look Dorothy and Paul Gutierrez are famous for creating.
You can hardly resist stroking the rounded, gleaming black surfaces, they are so tactile. This is a marvelous, entrancing addition to your collection of Nativities, or a wonderful start to one by established, skillful, and highly collectible potters.
Condition: Excellent – original condition
Provenance: Purchased from a gentleman in Santa Fe.