Handcrafted by Cynthia Starflower of San Ildefonso Pueblo, this magnificent plate was created in the red-on-red style. Wrapping around the rim is an avanyu design, the horned serpent that Pueblo people believe is the guardian of water, while the center features a feather design, another popular motif in San Ildefonso pottery. Starflower is a master potter who carries on the traditions of her mother, Carmelita Dunlap, and brother Carlos Dunlap, and this handcrafted red plate is a striking demonstration of her skill that will bring the beauty of an ancient and honored tradition into your home.
- Pot handmade by Cynthia Starflower (San Ildefonso Pueblo)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Crafted through traditional horizontal coil method
- Avanyu (water serpent) and feather design
- Pot measures 1-3/4” high x13-5/8”diameter
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Cynthia Starflower is the daughter of legendary San Ildefonso potter Carmelita Dunlap and sister of potters Martha Appleleaf and Carlos Dunlap. She creates traditional handcrafted pottery in a variety of colors, including polychrome, black-on-red, and Sunrise brown, a red-on-red style that was her brother’s signature. Today, she is one of the most preeminent San Ildefonso potters, known for her mastery of the traditional techniques passed down from her ancestors.
San Ildefonso Pueblo is best known for its black-on-black style of pottery made famous by legendary potter Maria Martinez. Pioneered by Maria and her husband Julian, this style beautifully combines matte and polished black surfaces and was inspired by pottery artifacts being excavated at the time from ancient Pueblo sites. They shared their popular technique with the entire San Ildefonso community, energizing the economic and cultural life of this small Pueblo. Today, San Ildefonso black-on-black vessels are extremely valuable and one of the most recognized forms of Pueblo pottery in the world. San Ildefonso potters are known for their originality and experimentation with new designs and shapes. Along with Santa Clara potters, they were the first to carve designs into clay rather than painting them on the surface, a huge shift in style that had a tremendous effect on the Pueblo pottery world. In addition to blackware, contemporary San Ildefonso artists create beautiful redware and polychrome pottery. Though San Ildefonso is a small Pueblo, their potters have had an enormous impact on the development of modern Pueblo pottery, and their work continues to be highly valued and collected today. The avanyu is a water serpent that the Pueblo people consider to be the guardian of water. Depicted as a horned serpent with lightning emerging from its mouth, the avanyu is believed to live in the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The creature’s body typically looks like a rippling stream, and the lightning coming from its mouth signifies thunderstorms that bring rain. A common design in the pottery of Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Pueblos, the avanyu represents the importance of water for the Pueblo people.
The most celebrated and recognized art form of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, Pueblo pottery is known around the world for its remarkable beauty and craftsmanship. It has been made in much the same way for over a thousand years, with every step of creation completed by hand. Pueblo potters do not use a wheel but construct pots using the traditional horizontal coil method or freely forming the shape. After the pot is formed, the artist polishes the piece with a natural polishing stone, such as a river stone, then paints it with a vegetal, mineral or commercial slip. Finally, the pot is fired in an outdoor fire or kiln using manure or wood as fuel. Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Jemez and Acoma Pueblos and the Hopi have distinctive pottery styles that are prized by collectors, but there are accomplished potters working in all Pueblos. Today, Pueblo pottery is an exciting and dynamic form, with many artists pairing traditional techniques with innovative and stylized designs. Those potters who continue to create pots using traditional methods possess an extraordinary level of skill, and their pots are highly valuable works of fine art that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. At a time when many commercially-made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.