Eagle Dancer SANTA CLARA PUEBLO Pottery Plate


 This Santa Clara Pueblo plate features a tribal member dressed in the traditional eagle costume, performing the dance that represents the movements of the eagle as it soars between heaven and earth. Wearing an eagle headdress and a pair of feathered wings, the bare-chested male dancer has on a type of breechcloth/apron, also decorated with feathers, and circlets of feathers on his legs above his moccasins. Designs depicting Pueblo dancers from Santa Clara's storytelling traditions are often used on their pottery.

The pueblo of Santa Clara is known for its carved red pottery, generally thick like this plate to allow for carving the surfaces. The red color results from a combination of the colors of the clay and the slip used. The piece was first given a coat of slip, cream colored and at times almost yellow, with the carved designs coated with the red slip next, including the potter's signature "Billie."

The next to the last photo is of page 147 of the book "American Indian Pottery, 2nd Edition," by John. W. Barry (1984). We've included this to show a similar plate to this one that is pictured in the top row on the right. It's identified at the bottom of the page as #427, "Santa Clara Pueblo. Goldenrod {name of potter}, Eagle Dancer. 1980" with the measurements (2 5/8 by 1 1/2 inches) indicating it's a miniature.

This dished plate measures 12 1/2 inches in diameter and stands 1 3/4 inches high on a 9 inch wide foot. It weighs about 5 pounds and is in very good condition. There is light wear around the rim that shows the cream slip underneath. There are two glaze flakes on the back, but there are no chips, cracks or other damage. A beautiful piece of Native American pottery, this large plate makes an impressive display alone or as part of a collection.

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