NAVAJO YARN-WRAPPED BUFFALO MUD TOY circa 2010
When you think of Navajo pottery, you think of a century or more of resin-coated brownware, at first roughly made in utilitarian shapes and more recently done with a high level of refinement. During all those years, however, Navajo artists also made mud toys—little animals and figures made with a large dose of affection and humor. These were truly made as toys, never fired, just baked in the sun. If we had to suggest an artist for this earnest little buffalo, we'd guess Elsie Benally, but we could be way off. When we wrote about her in our Southwestern Pottery, Anasazi to Zuni, we said, "Elsie Benally started making mud toys in the early 1980s, and her yarn-wrapped sheep, goats and buffaloes seem to define the art. She reportedly speaks no English, and even the Rosenaks, for all their ferocious pursuit, were never able to find her for an in-person interview." We put this on page 123 of the Second Edition of Southwestern Pottery.
3-3/4" long x 2" wide x 3-3/8" high