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19th Century Santa Ana Polychrome Olla from Denver Art Museum


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Potter Unknown

From looking at the recent book on Santa Ana pottery, one would suspect that pottery production at Santa Ana Pueblo was ample in the 19th and 20th centuries, but very little pottery from this time period has survived. Most of what has survived is in museum collections. Rarely does one find it for sale at auction or in galleries.

This jar dates to the mid- to late-1800s. It is comprised of sand as a tempering agent, and has a reddish brown paste, slip, and mineral paints similar to those used at Zia. Potters at Santa Ana abandoned crushed basaltic temper and started using sand temper after reestablishing their ancestral pueblo from near Zia to a location near the Rio Grande. This occurred by the late 1700s.

The paste shows evidence of spalling—a trait associated with sand tempering agents. This is quite typical of Santa Ana pottery. Even though it has some slip damage and some cracks, one must consider it museum quality.

Potter Unknown
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