Hopi Clay Figure-Corn Maiden?

Today at work a regular customer and friend gave me this figure.

Her Mom purchased it from a Hopi woman at a market in Arizona sometime between 1970 and the 1990’s.
It is about 12” tall.

My friend said it was very important that the necklace be correctly positioned at all times. Slightly to the left of center.
The beads next to the shell, appear to be bone. The other beads look like glass.
Her Mom had it in the care facility she went to, but can no longer keep it. She has late stage dementia and is becoming violent. She cannot have anything in her room that she could throw at someone and hurt them.
It was one of her favorite items. Her and her husband often went out West to look for rocks and purchase Native made items at markets/galleries.

The hand is unique, with a yellowish stone on top of it.

Here is the writing on the bottom.

Does anyone have thoughts on this Hopi woman?
I was greatly drawn to her the moment my friend gave her to me. Would love to learn more about her and determine who the artist was.
Thank you.


I might be splitting hairs here @fernwood but isn’t it positioned right of center? Or was it not specified which left? Maybe your friend could provide a reference to this custom.

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She said left, when facing the lady.
I asked my friend about it.
She said her Mom had always told her that. She would often reposition the necklace to be sure it was correct.
Her Mom never told her why, but that it was very important.
this was long before she had dementia.

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@fernwood Wow, what a lovely gift to receive though the circumstances are sad. Dementia is a terrible disease. I’m very drawn to this figure. Who is she? A wise woman? A respected matriach? I especially like the beautiful glaze work that’s the body of the figure. I truly hope that you can find information about this work of art. She’s silent yet she speaks…

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It looks like a commercial souvenir/gift shop item or perhaps by an individual non-Native artisan. Technically and style wise it doesn’t relate to Hopi pottery making, even of the figural type. (The storytelling about the necklace position is a little marketing business, I think.)

I wonder if it’s intended to be a Corn Maiden figure, with that yellow “kernel” on the hand; also, you often see the traditional hairstyle rendered on Corn Maidens.


Thanks for the comments.
I wish I knew more of her history.
My friend said there was always a little piece of paper under her saying where and when bought. The paper was lost when her Mom moved to the care facility.
All my friend remembers is that the paper said the name of the market, somewhere (location) in AZ, and from a Hopi woman.

Yes, the yellow stone could signify corn. Didn’t think about that. @chicfarmer I think you are correct. I quick search for Hopi Corn Maiden, revealed some with the same hair style.


The body of the maiden is very interesting. Do you know what it is made of?

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It is entirely natural red clay.
It appears the cape was a slab.