ipl Pueblo Pottery Gallery

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Tewa PueblosSanta Clara Pueblo
San Juan Pueblo
San Ildefonso Pueblo
Tesuque Pueblo
Nambe Pueblo

Santa Clara Pueblo

santa clara pot 1 - water jar with spirally fluted necksanta clara pot 2 - water jar with shoulder bandsanta clara pot 3 - jar with depressed wavy band
santa clara pot 4 - large oval jarcollection of four santa clara vessels - 1 wedding vase, 1 water pitcher, 1 water pot, 1 bowlsanta clara pot 5 - modern round black pot with scuptured ridges

Descriptions by Larry Frank

In the late classical period, up to about 1900, a great many excellent vessels were made at Santa Clara, all fired with the smudging technique that produces a fine black surface color.

… departures from tradition are seen especially in the sculptural details that embellish a vessel. The rim is often rippled or fluted; the neck also may be rippled, with vertical or spiral carvings; and the mid body bulge may be sculptured…Especially distinctive is the "bear paw" sculpture, almost a Santa Clara trademark, which first appeared on vessels made in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This simple footprint motif is usually placed on jars in sets of three or more with no other decoration…Another ceramic form from Santa Clara is the wedding vase, which is a double-spouted jar with connecting handle.


San Juan Pueblo

san juan pot 1 - water jar with polished red slip on upper bodysan juan pot 2 - bowl with polished red slip on upper body

Traditionally the pottery of San Juan has been plain polished red or polished black. Also traditional is the style of applying the polished slip, in either case to only the upper two-thirds of jars, and to only a band just below the rim on the exteriors of bowls. In both cases a line of demarcation between slip and paste can be clearly seen, with a resulting pattern of color that is pleasing. The rest of the surface is well-polished bare paste: a shade of orange-tan when the slip is red, and gray when the slip has been smudged black.


San Ildefonso Pueblo

san ildefonso pot 1 - storage jar decorated with hummingbirds and large birdssan ildefonso pot 2 - water jar decorated with symbols of mountains, clouds, rain, feathers and leavessan ildefonso pot 3 - water jar decorated with rain drops and plant forms
san ildefonso pot 4 - water jar decorated with four birdssan ildefonso pot 5 - water jar decorated with fishsan ildefonso pot 6 - water jar with feather and leaf motifs
san ildefonso pot 7 - long necked water jar with clouds, black and red leaves, and featherssan ildefonso pot 8 - red water jar decorated in motifs for ceremonies to produce rainsan ildenfonso pot 9 - ogapoge polychrome storage jar
san ildefonso pot 10 - red banded polychrome storage jarsan ildefonso pots 11 - 3 small pots, 1 of polychrome decorationsan ildefonso pots 12 - 4 small commercial pots in dull black on shiny black style

In contrast to the plain-ware tradition of the northern Tewa pueblos, the southern Tewa villages specialized in painted pottery throughout the Historic period (1600-1900).Until about 1730 the basic types were Sakona Polychrome and Tewa Polychrome. In the following twenty years of more these gradually evolved into two excellent types, Ogapoge Polychrome and Pojoaque Polychrome (Circa 1730-1760). Ogapoge Polychrome is decorated on both mid body and upper body, always with abundant feather symbols, and incorporates red into the motifs. it may have been manufactured for sacred ceremonial purposes exclusively. Pojoaque Polychrome jars have a splendid polished , tall, red upper body, a band of decoration on the mid body, and a red-banded underbody.

After about 1760 the standard style for the area became the type known as Powhoge Polychrome, named for the Indian designation for San Ildefonso. This pottery type is especially noted for the superb large storage jars that were made at San Ildefonso and Tesuque pueblos…

At San Ildefonso the making of pottery declined considerably until by 1830 its decorated ceramic output was limited to large storage jars and a few smaller jars. Most small vessels were imported, principally from Nambe Pueblo, which received food and other items in return. This situation persisted until about 1880, when San Ildefonso pottery making underwent a tremendous revitalization, sparked by the influx of tourists arriving on the new cross-country railroad. Indeed, 1880 is reckoned as the earliest date for San Ildefonso Polychrome…about 1918 they found that if an unfired polished red vessel was painted with a certain mineral paint on top of the polish and fired in a smudging fire at a relatively cool temperature the result would be a deep glossy black background with dull black decoration…soon after the technique was much copied, but Maria Martinez’s family remained its master.


Tesuque Pueblo

Tesuque pot 1 - storage jar decorated with discs and fertility symbolsTesuque pot 2 - ceremonial jar with clouds, rain, lightning, mountains, and fertility symbolsTesuque pot 3 - storage jar with sun discs, feathers, clouds and plant symbols
Tesuque pot 4 - water jar with meander and leaf designTesuque pot 5 - powhoge polychrome storage jarTesuque pot 6 - powhoge polychrome bowl
Tesuque pot 7 - large polychrome storage jar

The examples of Powhoge Polychrome made in Tesuque in the late 1700s and early 1800s are at least as fine as those from San Ildefonso, and in some cases they are perhaps even more artistic and better made. The decoration is both vigorous and sensitive in execution, usually carried out with sure command. These stone-polished Tesuque vessels are distinguished from those of San Ildefonso by having flatter bases, more ripply surfaces, occasional crystalline rocks in the paste, and a somewhat different style of design.

Around 1830 the Tesuque variety of Powhoge Polychrome evolved into Tesuque Polychrome and this beautiful type was popular from that time until as late as 1910.


Nambe Pueblo

nambe pot - polychrome storage jar decorated with feathers

Until about 1830 Nambe Pueblo was a tremendous center for the manufacture of painted pottery. The style, which closely resembles Powhoge Polychrome, is called Nambe Polychrome…

Around 1830 the production of decorated wares at Nambe decreased sharply, and it is likely that none were make at that village thereafter…later Nambe vessels consist principally of black wares, with fluted -rimmed bowls like those of Santa Clara, micaceous-slip jars superficially resembling the vessels from Picuris, and plain tan vessels of relatively rough finish.


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