Joseph Gachupin Corn Maiden Storyteller

Item No: 30004

$ 375.00

  • Handcrafted by Jemez artist Joseph Gachupin, this contemporary Storyteller figurine depicts a stylized Corn Maiden figure. The Corn Maiden is an important figure in Pueblo culture who brings blessings and good harvests to the people. Her open mouth represents the act of storytelling, while the gray rippling pattern along her body represents corn kernels. The figure’s reverse side symbolizes the corn husk, beautifully painted by hand with traditional rain and cloud symbols. This sculptural Corn Maiden figurine will bring beauty and inspiration to your Native American art collection.

    • Figurine handmade by Joseph Gachupin (Jemez Pueblo)
    • Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
    • Crafted through traditional horizontal coil and pinch methods
    • Figurine measures 4-7/8” x 3-1/4” x 2-1/4”
    • 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.

  • Joseph Gachupin (b. 1953) is an acclaimed potter from Jemez Pueblo known for creating beautiful handmade clay figures, such as storytellers and corn maiden figurines. He uses traditional pottery methods passed down through the generations, first making his own natural clay and pigments, then molding and painting his figures by hand, and finally firing outdoors with cedar chips. He was inspired to learn the clay arts from his wife, potter Carolyn Gachupin, and her sister, Emily Tsosie, who taught him how to create and work with clay using traditional methods. His wife and sister-in-law are from a famed family of Jemez potters and artists, and their siblings also include Glendora and Clifford 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. 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.
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