Pottery Collectors Guide: Native American Wedding Vases
At Indian Pueblo Store we pride ourselves in our ability to share the deeper meaning behind the art of the Southwest, it is with this in mind that we've prepared a deeper look into the celebrated Wedding Vase, an iconic pottery style.
Cultures around the world have special traditions when it comes to weddings. From exchanging rings to breaking a glass underfoot, these traditions celebrate the love between two people and the sanctity of the marriage. This includes Native American culture – and the beautiful, handmade wedding vases that are created to enhance the wedding day, or a special anniversary.
Creating a Work of Art
Much work goes into creating this distinct vessel, and the most celebrated and recognized art form of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico is pottery. Pueblo pottery in general is known around the world for its remarkable beauty and craftsmanship. It has been made in much the same way for over a thousand years, with every step of creation completed by hand. Pueblo potters do not use a wheel but construct pots using the traditional horizontal coil method or freely forming the shape. After the pot is formed, the artist polishes the piece with a natural polishing stone, such as a river stone, then paints it with a vegetal, mineral or commercial slip. Finally, the pot is fired in an outdoor fire or kiln using manure or wood as fuel.
Special Meanings and Shapes of Wedding Vases
Wedding vases are different in that they have two openings at the top of the vessel, along with a handle that joins the two spouts. The way the vase is constructed has special meanings.
Each spout represents one member of the couple; the handle in the middle of a wedding vase represents the unity as they come together on their wedding day. The space between the handle and the two spouts is a representation of the couples’ circle of life. Decorative features on the outside are meant to symbolize the marriage taking place.
Often, the vase is filled with a special liquid meant to represent the couple’s union. On the wedding day, each takes a turn drinking from the vase, then some couples drink together to celebrate the joining of two lives.
Completed with Care and Love
Wedding vases are created by skilled artisans in pueblos like Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Jemez and Acoma and are especially prized by collectors, but accomplished potters are working in all Pueblos. Today, Pueblo pottery is an exciting and dynamic form, with many artists pairing traditional techniques with innovative and stylized designs. Those potters who continue to create pots using traditional methods possess an extraordinary level of skill, and their pots are highly valuable works of fine art that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Wedding vases are meant to stay with the couple forever; it is often kept in a special, safe place in the home. Some believe that if the vessel becomes damaged or broken, the same fate awaits the couple.
Owning a Native American handcrafted wedding vase elevates a pottery collection, or is a wonderful way to introduce someone you love to the craft. The Indian Pueblo Store has a wide variety of pottery and wedding vases from many different pueblos, each with decorative features like graphic elements, hummingbirds, butterflies, birds, kiva steps, or deer.
We hope this this guide is helpful in better understanding Native American Wedding Vases. We invite you to visit our store today or shop online to see our collections.