This wonderful figure is by Felipa Trujillo who began making storytellers in the 1960′s. She is prominently featured in Babcock, et al’s classic book The Pueblo Storyteller. In fact, this figure has many similarities to the one on color plate 10 in the Babcock book. Lke that one, this includes 4 children; the mother has a a black dress with bare left shoulder; in both the mother’s eyes are slightly bulging “coffee bean” eyes; the noses on the mothers and children are distinctively formed (not painted on) and pointed; the thick booted legs emerge just a couple of inches from the dress. Babcock said that piece was from 1980 so it’s my best guess on this one as well.
Babcock notes that in the Museum of International Folk Art’s 1973 exhibit, only 6 Cochiti potters besides Helen Cordero were known to make storytellers. Felipa Trujillo was one of these. Figure 11 in the Babcock book from that exhibit shows the piece that Felipa had in the show. (Ada Suina, who is well represented in our February 2011 gallery show made her first storyteller in 1976).
Clearly, Felipa was one of the early pioneers of the then new storyteller tradition. This is a fine example of her work.
Condition is very good; some base scuffs effect the clarity of the signature, but it is visible.