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Tesuque Pueblo Nineteenth Century Black-on-red Jar with Lid


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Potter Unknown

Tesuque Pueblo Black-on-red pottery is fashioned in the same manner as polychrome wares. Clay, temper, paste, and construction do not differ. The difference arises when a red slip is wiped on the vessel in lieu of a cream slip.

The underside of the vessel is concave, the vessel body is rounded in the best tradition of Tewa vessels, and the design is sparse, all of which point to a date of origin of circa 1880. The light tan paste at the lower third of the vessel exhibits the bumpiness that is a trademark of Tesuque. A red band at the upper end of the tan paste divides the design area from the underbody. Double framing lines above this red band, at the shoulder, and just below the rim serve to isolate the two design areas.

The mirrored C-like design with eye-like elements and typical chevron elements cleverly conceals two Avanyu (Water Serpents) with their heads pointing down.

The inner rim of the jar is designed to support a lid. It was not unusual at Tesuque for the potters to make lidded jars. Most lids have been lost or broken. Fortunately the lid for this jar is still here, missing only the knob.


Condition: very good condition with knob of lid missing

Provenance: from the collection of a resident of Santa Fe

Recommended Reading: Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700-1940 by Jonathan Batkin

Tesuque Pueblo Black-on-red Jar with Lid - top view