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Bobby Silas Polychrome Dough Bowl


Item Number: DR 2062

Pueblo: Hopi and Zuni

Artists: Bobby Silas and Tim Edaakie

Medium: clay, slip and vegetal paints

Age: 2015

Dimensions: 14″ x 5″


SKU: DR 2062 Categories: , , , , , , ,


Dough bowls have been described as a larger deeper vessels with a flared rim, with the majority of Zuni bowls being about 14 inches in diameter. The function of a dough bowl was used to knead a large amount of dough to bake in an horno (outdoor oven). Usually several loaves of bread were usually baked at one time, since it took a lot of work to prepare the horno.

Sometimes dough bowls were used for stew during religious ceremonies. The bowls were large enough to hold enough stew for many people. This incredible bowl is reminiscent of the large dough/stew bowls made by potters of the past. The rim of the large bowl has a dip inside to prevent a back splash or a spill.

The paint for the designs on this bowl are all vegetal paints created from hematite, bees weed, and other plants. The designs on the inner rim represent protection from evil. The area below the heart bands in the center consist of rain symbols- clouds, the hachured lines represent the rain, and the square in the middle represents a rain blanket. Along either side on the interior are capped spirals, again with cross hatched lines representing rain. Other symbols include feathers and drum crooks—all with a rain/water motif. Rain was and is essential for life at Zuni. These are powerful symbols.

The outside design of this phenomenal bowl consists of a twice repeated mountain or kiva steps separated by bands of feather caps with tongues. The outside of the bowl contrasts sharply between the bright white and the stark black of the designs. The underbody is slipped in black, a tradition which began in the mid-1860s and continues today.

Bobby Silas and Tim Edaakie create pottery honoring the designs of their forefathers. They research and faithfully represent the old symbols on their traditional pottery. Each piece of their pottery is created in the time honored traditional manner – clay is gathered, the piece is formed and painted with vegetal paints and then is fired in a traditional dung fire.  This dough bowl is a beautiful piece of pottery honoring the typical historic Zuni pottery of the mid-1800s.

Condition: Excellent – original condition
Provenance: Purchased from Lyn Fox at the Lyn A. Fox Fine Pueblo Pottery Gallery in Santa Fe.

Additional information

Weight 88 oz