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Though figurative pottery has a long history in the Pueblos, storyteller figures are recent, going back to about 1963 when Helen Cordero of Cochiti made the first one, in honor of her father, Santiago Quintana, a traditional storyteller. Most storyteller figurines come from Cochiti and Jemez, with Jemez home to the greatest number.
Three storytellers by Diane Lucero of Jemez Pueblo. Each is 3.25 inches tall and $90. (ALL IN SANTA FE)
A bear back from a successful fishing trip, by Dorothy Herrera of Cochiti. 4 inches tall and $90. The cat is also by Dorothy. 4 inches high and $90. (BOTH IN SANTA FE) The Grandfather storyteller is 5.25 inches high and $220. It was made by Darrick Tsosie of Jemez. (TUCSON) The dog storyteller is also by Darrick. The dog (bulldog? boxer?) and pup are 7 inches high and also $185. (TUCSON)
An unusual double storyteller by Felicia Fragua. 4.75 inches tall and $225. (SANTA FE)
At right is one of Bonnie Fragua’s Drama Mamas. 7.5 inches tall and $375. (SANTA FE
A gang of Koshares, taking a melon break. By Antoinette Concha, each is 3.5 inches high and $35. These are in Santa Fe but we have several in Tucson as well.
The Koshare is a Tewa black and white striped clown whose name in Hopi is Koshare or Koyala. He appears in all the Tewa pueblos of the Rio Grande (where they are called Kossa) and in non-Tewa pueblos, like Jemez and Cochiti – where the twins outsmarted a powerful evil being with their apparent buffoonery. There they appear in pairs as they are supposed to be twins. One of his nicknames is Glutton – as he always carries or tries to carry more food than he can possibly eat. One of his functions is to demonstrate how one is supposed to behave by taking the opposite behaviors –notably greed and self-interest- to their absurd extreme.