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48. Payupki Polychrome bowl

The spattered paint on the interior of this bowl was made by the potter putting red and black paint successively in her mouth and then spewing it onto the bowl's interior surface before firing. Was this purely a decorative element or did it have some ceremonial or other significance? I don't know. What I do know, though, is that Rick Dillingham, in his appraisal to me dated April 18, 1986, said the bowl is "rare" (Dillingham in Olson 2002:64-177 HOP).

The Payupki Polychrome style was named after a village on Hopi Second Mesa just north of the present-day villages of Mishongovi and Shipaulovi. Such pottery was excavated at the abandoned village of Payupki by archaeologists and anthropologists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The village of Payupki was founded in the late 17th century by Southern Tiwas, some of whose descendants today live at the pueblos of Sandia and Isleta, just north and south, respectively, of Albuquerque.

Following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the defeated Spanish Franciscan priests, government officials, soldiers and set- tlers fled south along the Rio Grande River and into northern Mexico. Some of the Pueblo Indians who had revolted believed (mistakenly, many feel today) that all or most Southern Tiwas had given aid and comfort to the Spanish enemy. Some indeed had, but only a minority. To protect themselves from both the Spanish and the Rio Grande Puebloans who had revolted, the Southern Tiwas migrated to the isolated land of the Hopis, who also had participated in the Revolt, but had no enmity towards the Southern Tiwa. Their long trek finally ended on Second Mesa with the found- ing of the village of Payupki around 1700.

After several abortive attempts, the Spanish, beginning in 1692 under the leadership of Diego de Vargas, forcibly and permanently reasserted themselves and resettled the areas north and south of Santa Fe along the Rio Grande River. Around 1745, two Franciscan priests, Carlos Delgado and Ignacio de Piño, persuaded 441 Payupki villagers to return with them to the Rio Grande River environs, including Sandia, Pajarito and Alameda. In 1747, Franciscan priest Miguel Menchero convinced another group of about 350 Payupki villagers to return to Sandia. About a year later, priests Delgado and de Piño led another group from Payupki, some 2,000 "souls," to Isleta and Jemez.

-Kent R. Olson


The village of Payupki lasted about half a century-the original exodus was followed by others until the village was completely abandoned in the late 1740s. The artifacts known to be associated with this type of pottery style are dated to circa 1680-1780 by Wade and McChesney (Wade and McChesney 1981:84). Presumably this pottery style is thusly dated because it would have developed among the Southern Tiwas at their original home villages before the disruption that prompted them to re-settle at Payupki, and it was known to linger with the Hopi even after the Southern Tiwas left Payupki.

However briefly the site was occupied, Wade and McChesney have concluded that the Payupki pottery type became "the dominant Hopi pottery style during the 18th century" and "was heavily influenced by late 17th- and early 18th-century Keresan ceramics" (Wade and McChesney 1981:84). (Keresan is a language type including dialects associated with some Rio Grande pueblos including Cochiti, Acoma, Zia, Santo Domingo and Laguna ["Keresan Indian Family Tribe History" 1999-2009].) These scholars noted: "There is no consensus as to which one of the various groups of newcomers to Hopi actually made the pottery," although they suggested that the people were Tewa not Tiwa (Wade and McChesney 1981:84). Wade and McChesney evaluated the style as more cluttered-looking than the earlier pottery type associated with Sikyatki, but acknowledged that Payupki practitioners experimented with new slip colors (Wade and McChesney 1981:84).

According to Hopi oral tradition, the exodus from Payupki was due to a bitter sports rivalry gone out-of-hand with the Hopi village of Tikuvi (Courlander 1987:147-57). According to the story, there was initially some minor friction between the Hopis and the Payupkis, but visits were exchanged, and "when there was a kachina dance in one village the people of the other village came to watch" (Courlander 1987:147). This story also refers to a kiva in Payupki, suggesting a cultural compatability, although not a complete assimilation of the Payupkis into Hopi culture (Courlander 1987:147-57). At the end of the story, the Tikuvi lost a racing bet that had wagered all of their women, and they consequently declared war on the Payupki, who left their village rather than face a battle. For the purposes of this essay, the general nature of historic Hopi pottery will be discussed.

Dr. E. Charles Adams, who kindly responded to an inquiry about this bowl, advised that it was probably made after 1700-once the village of Payupki was settled and the polychrome technique was adopted (Adams 2009). Historically, Hopi pottery was used for everyday cooking and storage, and for spiritual ceremonies. Paints, clays and vessels were sometimes exchanged between villages, or passed down as heirlooms (Wade and McChesney 1981:8-9). Large ceramic jars were used for storage and preservation of materials such as seeds, corn and water. Terrace-stepped bowls held cornmeal, revered as an essential food (see Cat. 276). Pottery canteens transported water on trading and war expeditions. "A variety of containers, especially mixing bowls, were used for the preparation of such materials as pigments, clay, foodstuffs, mordants for textile dyes, or ceremonial medicine waters" (Wade and McChesney 1981:8). Before missionaries discouraged non-Christian rites, prized pots were included as burial offerings.

The exact nature of religious practice at Payupki wasn't recorded. If the inhabitants adopted some Hopi ways, they may have had katsina societies. Charles Adams has noted that many other western pueblos-including Zuni, Acoma and Laguna-have katsina societies; all Tewa villages have katsina-like groups; and the "southern Tiwa village of Isleta has katsina-like disciplinarians and ceremonies associated with the moieties; however, katsina ceremonialism is a late nineteenth century introduction to Isleta from Laguna" (Adams 1991:10). He suggested that rock art depicting katsinas and katsina masks located in the area of Taos, dating to before the Pueblo Revolt, may reflect widespread katsina practices among northern Tiwa villages (Adams 1991:10). Historically, Hopi religious ceremonies made use of pottery, such as ladles, fetish pots and medicine jars, which "functioned in kiva rituals and public performances as receptacles for curative or magical potions" (Wade and McChesney 1981:9). Power was infused into Hopi pots through both their use in rituals and the presence of fertility symbols in the painted decoration, such as birds, dragonflies, rainclouds and lightning (Wade and McChesney 1981:9).

Puebloan women are the ones who traditionally have made utilitarian pottery, as they knew what they needed for household tasks. Men made ritual vessels for use in the kiva, where these societies were limited to males (Olson 2009). It is unlikely this Payupki pot would have been imitated in a later public stylistic revival if it was a ritual piece (compare with Cat. 50, dated circa 1910; Olson 2002:64-177 HOP). Therefore, this Payupki bowl was probably made by a woman.

The potter first travelled to a nearby clay deposit to collect the unusually fine gray clay that fires to yellow and takes on especially warm tones when covered with a red slip (Olson 2002:64-177 HOP). The bowl was formed using the traditional coil and scrape method, painted with a red slip base coat, decorated with slip colors and fired outdoors (Wade and McChesney 1981:7). The rim of this bowl was decorated with painted black cloud scallops, probably as a reference to clouds and life-sustaining rain, and the exterior has bird-like motifs. Adams explained that the spattered interior is a Hopi symbol for rain, possibly applied as a request for rain (Adams 2009). When the Payupki village was evacuated, the bowl may have been abandoned until it was found by Hopis or archaeologists, or it may have been made by a Hopi working in the Payupki style. Wade and McChesney noted that, "Payupki vessels from the Keam Collection were purchased in the 1880s or 1890s from Hopis who had them as heirlooms" (Wade and McChesney 1981:84).

This 300-year old Payupki Polychrome bowl probably was one of hundreds of pots from its time, but it is now rare in that it has survived. It remains both a striking example of Payupki craftsmanship and a poignant witness to the lives that once existed in a Second Mesa village.

-Alexandra Benson (Augustana 2011) AN-320, with assistance from Dr. E. Charles Adams, curator of archaeology and professor of anthropology, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona


Artist unknown (Southern Tiwa, Arizona), Payupki Polychrome bowl, rain cloud motif on rim, yellow clay with red slipped inner rim, spattered paint on interior, ca. 1700–1780, Ceramic, hand coiled and outdoor fired, The Olson-Brandelle North American Indian Art Collection, Augustana College (64-177 HOP), 2005.1.66