Vintage Jemez Koshare clown pottery figurine, kachina statue, Native American Indian art, pueblo clown, sacred clown, Southwestern decor

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The very first piece of art I collected, at the age of 18 and paid for with tax returns, was a series of Koshare clowns eating cotton candy and watermelon. I don't run across many other Koshares, but this is the second one I've found recently, and this one is absolutely delightful. The clown is seated, one hand on head and eyes crossed as it stares at a giant plop of bird poop on its nose, the bird still atop the head. And the piece is signed J. Fragua, which if you know anything about pottery from New Mexico's Jemez Pueblo, you know that Juanita Fragua is a master. She tends to be mentioned more these days for having taught her renowned potter daughter, Gloria. I have always loved the Koshare clown, whose role is of jester or trickster in the Kachina tradition. From an interview with Pueblo potter Roxanne Swentzell, one of the most renowned Koshare makers today, "The koshares, the Pueblo clowns, serve to balance things in the pueblo. They relay messages to the community that other people cannot say, but the koshare can, better than anyone. The clowns reflect something people need to see about themselves. Like when someone is greedy: instead of shouting, the clown will sit in front of his house, and act like a greedy individual, collecting rocks — and will transmit his message to that person by doing so." And this particular representation shows the Koshare's humorous side so well!

This piece measures 7" tall by 4-3/4" wide at the widest point, and 3-3/4" deep. The clown's hat has straw dangles on the end, and often straw used in kachinas and folk art will break and fall out over time. This straw is in relatively good condition, as is the overall condition of the pottery.

Because one of the best virtues in life is the ability to laugh at oneself.


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