The geometric and floral designs are typical of the Cochiti style. The horizontal scratches on the neck were caused during use. It was standard practice to keep mice and other vermin out of a storage jar by inverting a bowl over the top. Such bowl covers abraded the design, but left an interesting ethnographic record of how the pot was used.
Note the gates put in the horizontal black lines drawn around the top and below the shoulder of this Cochiti polychrome storage jar. These are spirit lines that break the pattern and give it a beginning and an ending.
Some potters believe such breaks allowed the maker’s talent and abilities to escape from the pot so that she could continue working.
Santo Domingo is located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. As they do in nearby Cochiti, Santo Domingans speak Keres and their village is called Kihwa or Kiva in their own language. They produce distinctive pottery noted for its use of red in the designs. The designs usually are not divide into independent motifs and are heavier than those of Kiva polychrome or Cochiti wares. Since 1900, potters have applied the slip with a rag instead of painting it on. Then they polish the pot’s surface with a stone.
Since about 1700, Zuni pots have been decorated with flat mineral paints. Zuni pottery generally has a glossy white slip with bold, curvilinear designs. Note the damage around the rim that was probably caused by a ladle handle that dipped water from the vessel.
Complicated rosettes, birds, and scrolls almost completely cover this water jar. The artist shows more than average talent and it looked like they didn’t want to stop. The damage around the rim was probably caused by a ladle handle.
Note the deer painted with a dramatic heart line, which serves to illustrate the power of life entering the animal’s vital organs and connecting the animal to the natural world surrounding it. The rim damage was probably caused by a ladle handle.
All the pottery types from First Mesa are descended from the prehistoric Jeddito yelloware, a matte-finish yellow pottery with black decoration. The clay derives its name from the nearby Jeddito wash, where it was mined. The brown color is obtained by boiling bee weed, a desert plant that produces a black color when boiled down, but fires a dark brown.
Because the clay has a pleasing, soft luster after it is polished with a stone, the Hopis use no slip to color the surface. However, for a brief time in the late 1800’s , they experimented with a yellowish-white slip obtained from the Zunis.
Walpi polychrome is from the principal Hopi village on First Mesa. Although this olla was fired in an oxidizing atmosphere that produced the clear colors, the dark spot (center right) was caused when some object fell against the side of the jar during firing, thus preventing oxygen from reaching that spot.
This pot is tempered with crushed basaltic rock that is mixed with brick-red clay.
Classic Zia designs of red and black arches, birds and symbols of water.
Zia Pueblo in New Mexico, is located west of the Rio Grande River on Jemez Creek, near Jemez and Santa Ana Pueblos. The Zia Indians had very little farmland so they produced large amounts of pottery to trade to other pueblos, for agricultural products.
Zia Pueblo Pot
Width 15 inches
Bowl used for mixing bread dough. It shows the effects of many years of hard use.
The geometric and floral designs are typical of Zia Pueblo pottery.
Tesuque Pueblo, just north of Santa Fe, is one of the Tewa villages For decades it produced polychrome pottery much like that of other tribes in the area, with black designs on a white-slip back-ground and a red underbody.
Tesuque designs include fingerlike feathers, white rectangles in black areas, and crosshatching, often on diagonal stripes. Around 1910 the pottery there degenerated to souvenir items for the nearby Santa Fe market.
Believed to be the work of Luteria Atencio, a noted San Juan potter, it was collected by Joseph Henry Sharp, who used it as an object in many of his paintings. San Juan Pueblo is called Oke in the native Tewa language. Pottery produced there in historic times was conservative, with designs and forms that had changed little in two hundred years. Most were polished with a stone and fired red or black. The slip was applied to the upper portion of the pot only. San Juan is important in New Mexican history as the site of Juan de Onate’s colony of 1598. That colony was the beginning of what became New Mexico, as well as the first European settlement in the American Southwest.
Acoma was located on an incredible mesa to prevent attacks from enemies. Because of its location, “Ako” is called the Sky Village. The people are Keres Indians. Acoma pottery is noted for its qualities of being exceptionally thin, hard-fired, and light-weight. The clay is ground first to a fine powder, then soaked in water and mixed with crushed potsherds. The white slip is a variety of kaolin clay, used elsewhere for making porcelain. The kaolin grabs the paints added to the surface. The beautiful reds are of either ground sandstone or red ochre. The black is a mixture of powdered black hematite (mineral) and guaco, an organic or carbon-based paint that acts as a fixative. Guaco is made of boiled, wild spinach, also called bee weed. This bird motif is a typical Acoma design.
This large storage jar has the signature Santa Clara design, the bear’s paw, around its shoulder. While it is not used by potters at any other pueblos, the bear’s paw has been used only since about 1900 at Santa Clara. This pot with five bear paws belonged to Joseph Henry Sharp and was used by him as an object in the painting, “Shelling Corn,” and many others. Santa Clara Pueblo is situated just south of San Juan and is called Ka’po’ in the native Tewa tongue. In recent times, its potters have produced polished red wares. The graceful shapes of Santa Clara pots make them quite desirable.