Book Review: “The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants” by Mary Ellen Blair and Laurence Blair
“The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants” is a comprehensive study of the life and work of Nampeyo, a Hopi-Tewa potter who lived in Arizona. The book is written by Mary Ellen Blair and Laurence Blair and is the result of over 20 years of research. The book covers Nampeyo’s life and work, the history of the Tewa people, and the development of Hopi pottery techniques. It also includes a section on Nampeyo’s talented descendants.
The book is extensively illustrated with hundreds of color and black-&-white photos, maps, and drawings. It reads like a novel, and the authors have left no stone unturned in their research. The book is a model of accuracy and thoroughness and has been praised by contemporary Native American authorities Bruce McGee and Mark Bahti.
One of the strengths of the book is its ability to capture the reader’s attention with the details of pottery making. The authors describe the painstaking process of making and firing pottery using ancient techniques. They also explore the designs used by Nampeyo, which were influenced by “Old Hopi” pottery and sherds found at 15th-century Sikyátki ruins on First Mesa.
The book also focuses on Nampeyo’s descendants, who continued to use the family patterns and designs developed by Nampeyo. The 32-page color portfolio included in the book showcases outstanding examples of Nampeyo’s work and those of her descendants.
Overall, “The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants” is a must-read for anyone interested in Native American/Hopi history and Hopi pottery collectors. It is a comprehensive and meticulously researched book that reads like a novel and provides a fascinating insight into the life and work of Nampeyo and her talented descendants.
Blair, M. E., & Blair, L. (1999). The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants. Northland Publishing.
Blair, Mary Ellen, and Laurence Blair. The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants, Northland Publishing, 1999.
Blair, Mary Ellen, and Laurence Blair. 1999. The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants. Northland Publishing.