This exquisite figurine set handcrafted by Jemez artist Clifford K. Fragua brilliantly blends the Nativity story with the beloved storyteller figure, a type of figurative pottery pioneered by Cochiti Pueblo, and now popular among all pueblos.
Depicted in a beautiful natural palette of brown, orange, buff, and gray, the figures are shown in traditional robes, the wise men carrying their gifts of a basket, drum, and moccasins. Each figure is made from hand-gathered clay, then molded and painted by hand.
Fragua’s Nativity set is both an inspiring celebration of the holiday season, and a remarkable work of art that will bring Pueblo tradition and artistry into your holiday traditions.
- Storyteller handmade by Clifford K. Fragua (Jemez Pueblo)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Nativity set measures
- Holy Family: 4" long x 3-3/4" wide x 4-1/2" high
- Lamb: 4-1/4" long x 2-1/4" wide x 2-1/4" high
- Cow: 6-3/4" long x 3-1/4" wide x 4-3/4" high
- Horse: 6-1/2" long x 2-3/4" wide x 3-1/4" high
- 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
Clifford K. Fragua (b. 1957) is an accomplished potter from Jemez Pueblo. He specializes in handmade storytellers, koshares, animal figurines, Nativity sets, ornaments, and corn maidens, blending traditional and contemporary methods.
All of his pieces are made by hand from natural homemade clay, using the traditional pinch and coil methods. He learned the art from his mother, the late Grace Fragua, and is the brother of renowned pottery artists Carol Fragua Gachupin, Emily Fragua Tsosie, and Bonnie Fragua.
Jemez Pueblo potters are known for their artistry and innovation, with many artists producing premium handcrafted vessels in traditional and contemporary styles. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Jemez was known for its traditional black-on-white ware, but production of this type of pottery died out in the early 18th century. Most pottery used in Jemez Pueblo after that came from nearby Zia Pueblo.
There was a revival of Jemez pottery-making in the early 20th century inspired and influenced by Zia pottery designs, but it was not until the 1960s and 70s that a significant number of Jemez potters began producing high-quality work using ancient methods. These potters developed a distinctive style of black-on-red and black- or red-on-tan, while dramatically improving their technical mastery of the form.
Since the 1980s, the popularity of handcrafted Jemez pottery has soared. Today, many artists create pots in the signature Jemez red style, but there are potters working in a range of colors and forms. Jemez potters make storytellers, wedding vases, seed pots, sgraffito-etched vessels, and more, and are widely recognized for their craftsmanship, creativity, and experimentation in design and technique.
Native American and Pueblo people of the Southwest have been making clay pottery figures since ancient times. Their creation was discouraged by Christian missionaries and the form was not widely practiced in the 16th–19th centuries. Figurative pottery was revived in the 20th century, and clay figurines have since become one of the most popular and widely collected Native American art forms.
Storytellers are a type of clay figure that is unique to the Southwest. They were developed by Helen Cordero of Cochiti Pueblo in 1963 and traditionally depict a male elder telling stories to children, all with open mouths. Cordero was inspired by the traditional “Singing Mother” figure often represented in clay, and by her grandfather, a legendary Cochiti storyteller.
In Pueblo culture, stories are passed down orally from generation to generation, and the storyteller figure represents the importance of the storytelling tradition. Today, Native artists across the Southwest create storytellers, sometimes depicting the elder and children as clowns, drummers, acrobats, cowboys or animals, and handcrafted figurative pottery continues to be one of the most exciting, colorful and successful pottery forms.Read our Native American Pottery Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work 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.
Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. 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.