Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Native American Art from Clay

Storyteller dolls are among the most fascinating of art pieces in the southwest.

In Native American tradition, there is always one person, sometimes a grandfather, who serves as a storyteller, to pass on information to the children. Storyteller dolls, made from clay of the earth, depict such a person. They are almost always shown with their mouths open. Tiny "children" are shown sitting on the storyteller's lap, back, arms, legs, and sometimes head!

This Indian grandfather is one of the favorites in my storyteller collection.

See the tiny little kid hiding in Grandfather's headdress?

This is a different style of storyteller doll but still very unique.

Check out the quarter to the left of this storyteller doll to get an idea of how small these are.

A Native American woman named Helen Cordero of Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico is said to be the artist who made the first contemporary storyteller doll. It was fashioned in honor of her own grandfather, who passed on stories to his own people.

When we lived in Arizona, every time I saw an affordable storyteller doll, I delighted in buying it. It's one of the most unique collections to own!

Here is one of the female storyteller dolls. See all the little children clinging to her?

This storyteller doll has so many kids climbing on him that's it's hard to count them. I'm going to show you several angles of this doll.

If anyone would like to learn more about storyteller dolls, there is a book titled Pueblo Storyteller: Development of a Figurative Ceramic Tradition. It can be ordered at Barnes and Noble.

What is your opinion of this storyteller doll collection?


diane stetson said...

Did you ever think of opening your own "store" with all your collections? I bet your business would be off the charts...(just a thought) I don't remember ever seeing these kinds of dolls at your house..but they are very unique.

Susan Wicker said...

Hi Di! I would LOVE to have a second hand treasure shop. Just love it. Butttttttt, the problem with my collections, is that I would NOT want to give them away. ha! Thanks for your visit. Sincerely, Susan

Rebecca said...

They are an entirely new "field" for me! Very fascinating. (I think this might be quite a rare - and thus valuable - collection, am I correct?)

They remind me of a photo I have of all our grandchildren gathered around my husband and on his lap as he reads to them! LOVE it.

Terri Tiffany said...

I never ever heard of them before! You can be sure now when I do see them, I'll think of you!!

Susan Wicker said...

Hi Rebecca. The storyteller dolls are not really rare in the southwest. They tend to be pricey, though. I'm so glad you checked in to my blog! Always love having you. Sincerely, Susan

Susan Wicker said...

Hi Terri....They are pretty much Native American fare. Thanks for your visit and comment. I'm so HAPPY for you, regarding the job. I hope God comes through for me eventually too! ha! I keep asking. You'll be a good social worker. Keep in touch! Sincerely, Susan

Karen Lange said...

I'd not heard of these either, but they are interesting. The workmanship is amazing. Thanks for sharing this!

Susan Wicker said...

Oh, thanks for stopping by, Karen. I'm always delighted to see you! Glad you liked the storytellers! Sincerely, Susan

Helen Brostek said...

I just bought the one above with the woman wearing the green coat and the many children nestled around her at a garage sale. She is really sweet. How much is she worth?

Hindustanka said...

i think that it's very good that you collect folk art pieces. and more, let us to get to know more about it :)
that one looks like an alien..:)

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