Loading Spinner

Lot 196: Pair of Santa Clara Blackware Jars, Possibly by Sara Fina Tafoya

Cowan's Auctions

March 26, 2010
Cincinnati, OH, US

More About this Item


Pair of Santa Clara Blackware Jars, Possibly by Sara Fina Tafoya Lot of 2, unsigned, both with three bear paws on shoulder, height 13 in. x diameter 13 in. AND height 13 in. x 12.5 in.
ca 1900

In the Spring of 1924, as a young couple with two children, my grandparents, Frank (born in 1888) and Fern (born in 1892) Brewster, took an extended road trip throughout the Southwest United States, with a short excursion into Mexico. My father was five years old and his brother was two years younger. During this trip, my grandmother purchased a pair of large Santa Clara pots made by Margaret Tafoya.

The pots sat in my grandparents home, one on either side of the fireplace, at floor level. After they died, the pottery assumed a similar place in the home of my parents. Of course, with small children in both households, some damage to the rims occurred. It is a miracle that the pottery survived in such good condition.

The pottery decorated my grandmother's house for many years. She had a great interest in Native American history and culture, and owned an extensive library on the subject. I still have some of those books.

The interest in Native American culture came naturally to my grandmother. I'm sure the trip under discussion sparked her interest. In addition, her family had pioneered in Arizona, near Sedona. My grandfather's father and grandparents pioneered in Colorado, near Montrose, Grand Junction, Silverton and other places, from the 1870s onwards. They primarily were involved in cattle raising, but branched out into mining and operating a pack-train out of Silverton. My great-grandfather returned to Baxter Springs, Kansas, in about 1883 where he remained the rest of his life; he did, however, make frequent summertime trips to Colorado. He died in 1943.

Sara Fina, the mother of Margaret Tafoya, was a highly skilled potter who did not sign her work. Her pottery is recognized by its high black sheen, thinner walls, and impressed bear paws. It is important to remember that around 1900 there were very few potters who were as accomplished as she. Because of these traits, these storage jars may possibly be Sara Fina's work.
For additional information about Sara Fina see Adobe Gallery's website. Some repairs and chips to rim.

Condition Report

Some repairs and chips to rim.


Collected by Frank and Fern Brewster during a trip to the Southwest in 1924, by decent through the family

Request more information