Rare and orig­i­nal Pue­blo pot­tery works are on view at Adobe Gallery.

Native American Art - - GALLERY PREVIEWS -


In the 1880s, there was a shift in the Pue­blo pot­tery that was be­ing cre­ated. The items went from strictly cer­e­mo­nial and util­i­tar­ian with sim­ple forms and con­ser­va­tive de­signs to pieces that would at­tract the at­ten­tion of tourists. Many pot­ters be­gan to ex­per­i­ment with shapes, col­ors and de­signs, creat­ing eye-catch­ing ves­sels that were eas­ily mar­keted. On April 6, Adobe Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, will open the ex­hi­bi­tion Unique and Un­usual Pue­blo Pot­tery fea­tur­ing more than 30 rare and orig­i­nal pieces.

“With the in­flux of the train in the 1880s, and the tourism later, [Pue­blo In­di­ans] be­gan mak­ing things they thought were more at­tuned to what vis­i­tors would buy,” says Alexan­der E. An­thony Jr., owner of the gallery. “They would do things that looked cer­e­mo­nial be­cause they learned if it looked re­li­gious

or cer­e­mo­nial and was for­bid­den, they would buy it. They’d make var­i­ous items that might be func­tional in shape, but they were aimed at the tourist in de­sign.”

One of the items in the show is a Zia four-color poly­chrome olla from around 1910 that has an orange deer as the main de­sign and hearts to either side. Ac­cord­ing to An­thony, the color of the deer makes it a spe­cial find. Re­port­edly there are only three other jars that are known with the deer in that color; one is at the Den­ver Art Mu­seum and the other two are at the School for Ad­vanced Re­search in Santa Fe. Of this par­tic­u­lar item, An­thony adds, “You can see around the rim, this was ac­tu­ally made for use and was used as a wa­ter jar sev­eral decades be­fore it was sold.”

Other works that are unique be­cause of their pig­ments is a Zuni large white-on-red olla, from around 1900, and a Te­suque poly­chrome bowl with blue pig­ment, circa 1880s. The for­mer piece is in­ter­est­ing be­cause the white-on-red was not stan­dard, while the blue-pig­mented bowl had the hue added af­ter it was fired so the color would not burn off in the process of mak­ing the piece.

A circa 1889 San Ilde­fonso pic­to­rial lid­ded jar is

an­other un­com­mon find, par­tic­u­larly for the im­agery that has been painted. “There are three pic­tures go­ing around the neck. One with a guy rop­ing a horse, then there is an­other one show­ing a guy with a hat rid­ing on a horse, and the third im­age show the two fight­ing,” de­scribes An­thony. “On the front of the jar it has 1889, and on the back it has Juan. Juan and Jose were the two guys—who­ever they were—that were fight­ing. We have as­sumed that since the jar has Juan’s name on it that he was the win­ner. His wife or mother-in­law made the jar in his honor. That is not cer­tainly some­thing they would have dec­o­rated for their own use. It was ob­vi­ously meant to be sold. It is rare from that stand­point.”

Two items with unique shapes are a San Ilde­fonso dou­ble cham­ber stir­rup can­teen, from around 1920, and an Acoma pot­tery cube from about 1890s. The can­teen is one that was not prac­ti­cal for daily use, but was rather more of a cer­e­mo­nial item likely made by a fe­male and painted by a male artist. “The square box is un­usual in the sense that it more than likely was prob­a­bly made as a home-use cer­e­mo­nial ves­sel for sa­cred corn­meal,” ex­plains An­thony. “It more than likely had a lid at one time, but might not have as there is no wear pat­tern, but it is pos­si­ble that it did.”

Also in the show will be a flat, 10-inch tile by Maria and Ju­lian Martinez that is out of the or­di­nary be­cause it is not their usual style of art­work. A La­guna dou­ble­headed bird effigy jar, which ap­pealed to tourists be­cause of is whim­si­cal de­sign, and a Te­suque blackon-red fig­u­ral ves­sel that shows a ser­pent are also note­wor­thy.

Unique and Un­usual Pue­blo Pot­tery will be on view through May.



2. San Ilde­fonso pic­to­rial lid­ded jar, ca. 1889, clay and pig­ment, 16 x 18" (with­out lid)



5. Te­suque poly­chrome bowl with blue pig­ment, ca. 1880s, clay and pig­ments, 3⁄ x 10½" 5

6. His­toric Acoma pot­tery cube, ca. 1890, clay and pig­ment, 2½ x 3 x 3" 6

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