TOHONO O'ODHAM POLYCHROME E-E TOY circa 1930
This belongs to an early side-chapter in O'odham pottery. The 1962 Papago Indian Pottery by Bernard Fonana and others is the only book we've found so far devoted exclusively to O'odham pottery. It described pottery known as e-e toys and told us that the Montaña family had been making them for "four or five generations"—a description that takes them well back into the nineteenth century. These came in two forms, all with this distinctive face and chin: on bowls or on standing figures. We show other Montaña e-e toys on pages 157 and 158 of our The Desert Southwest, Four Thousand Years of Life and Art and on page 135 of the Second Edition of our Southwestern Pottery, Anasazi to Zuni. Now, having explained all this, we're crossing our fingers on the attribution. The red color and polish look more Maricopa or Kohatk rather than Tohono, and we've never seen fineline painting like this on another Montaña piece. I'll always remember watching to a Navajo jeweler who was busily knocking off Hopi inlay jewelry who smiled at me and said blandly, "We all borrow from each other." Doubts aside, we still think this is almost certainly Tohono and probably by a Montaña. It came from a collection gathered in the 1920s and 1930s and stayed in the family until they called us.
3-5/8" wide x 3" deep x 4-3/4" high
Condition excellent except for some paint loss and that chip on the bottom.
Montaña e-e toys 1890–1940