Maria Martinez (1887-1980) and Popovi Da (1922-1971) - San Ildefonso Polychrome Olla with Avanyu Design c. 1956-60, 7.5" x 9.5" (P91138A-0120-051)
- Circa: 1956-60
- Size: 7.5'' x 9.5''
This piece is in very good condition. There is some minor surface wear. Signed "Maria Popovi". Acquired from a private collection in Arizona. Owner originally acquired parts of her collection from Richard L. Spivey, who was one of the world’s leading experts on Maria Martinez and family pottery. Avanyu is Tewa for “water serpent” and is the Tewa deity, the guardian of water. Avanyu is the "one who lives in the water below the earth, one who carries us through the water of change.” It symbolizes the importance for water to life in the desert and is also associated with lightning in the serpent’s tongue. The curves of the serpent’s body represent flowing water. Avanyu is believed to have birthed the waterways and has the voice of thunder. The sacred Avanyu lives in streams and is feathered with a turquoise horn in the middle of its forehead. The horn moves, sending rain for crops. When the Avanyu creeps on the ground and snaps its tail, it causes thunder, and when its tongue strikes out of it mouth, it causes lightening. Seeing the Avanyu it will bring luck and good health, and it means there is water nearby or that it will rain soon. The San Ildefonso and Santa Clara pueblos of New Mexico commonly use the Avanyu design in their pottery.