This unsigned Hopi cylinder jar was made in the 1920s. It is believed that the vessel shape was inspired by tulip vases from the Arts and Crafts movement. The polychrome decoration of a bird and feathers is in the Sitkyaki Revival style. Trader Thomas Kean encouraged potters to use this style, which was inspired by early ceramic designs being recovered in archaeological excavations, on pottery made for sale in his shop. The dark shadow on the upper portion of the vessel is a fire cloud that forms in open-air firings as vessels come into contact with fuel or fluctuating firing atmospheres. These are not considered flaws in Hopi pottery, but instead are evidence of the living spirit of the vessel.
U-M astronomy professor Hazel Losh acquired this vessel in the 1930s or 1940s. Dr. Losh, a legendary teacher, was the first female faculty in the Department of Astronomy and the first to be tenured. She is said to have taught more than 50,000 students. Losh was also an avid fan of U-M football: she oversaw the game-starting coin toss for many years and was officially named Homecoming Queen for Life.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.