ZUNI POLYCHROME BEAR FIGURINE circa 1890
We're sticking our necks way out on this one. Two experts looked at it and called it Mojave, and initially Al didn't even call it a bear. He looked at the face and called it a cow, an opinion the lower right image seems to support. Then we both looked at it closely and compared it with old Zuni pieces. The clay and paint seemed to match, and the dark brown feet have the same color as the underbodies on old ollas. Most tellingly, it's far too quirky a beast for the Mojaves to have made. We can't recall seeing an old Mojave animal figurine, while on the other hand, the Zunis love bears and during the late 19th century made all kinds of eccentric pieces. We've always believed that the traders around Gallup wanted to be sure that Zuni tourist pottery looked authentically "Indian," and the stranger it looked, the easier it was to sell.
4-3/4" long x 2-1/2" wide x 2" high
A bit nicked up around the mouth,
otherwise condition okay