History Of Hopi Indian Potters Essay

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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.
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The positive influence of their Anasazi predecessors continued well into the 1200’s for the Hopi Indians. The Great Drought of 1276 through 1299, though, brought great changes in the making of Hopi pottery (Bartlett 4). Orange and yellow pottery came into existence as wood used for the firing technique was abandoned for the coal fuel found in abundance on the three mesas. Coal became the principal fuel for cooking and heating, as well as for the firing of the Hopi pottery. The Anasazi influence, along with the use of coal, transformed the pottery color and design into what has now been named the Sikyatki Polychrome style of Hopi pottery.

The Sikyatki style of Hopi pottery was the introduction of artistic quality to the yellow pottery of the Anasazi period. From 1400-1600 A.D., the Sikyatki Polychrome style was described as "flamboyance of decoration" on the yellow pottery now being made (Bartlett 6). The geometric designs of the Anasazi period were abandoned for the Sikyatki use of life-form designs and nature designs. These included mammals, birds, reptiles, as well as rain clouds, stars, and sun symbols.

The most dramatic turn in the history of the Hopi Indians came with the direct influence by the contact zone…