Exquisite Zia Pueblo Polychrome OLLA
This is a superb polychrome jar created most probably between 1890 and 1900. This fine vessel is coil-formed in native clay with the addition of traditional Zia paste temper, crushed basaltic lava. The concave base and underbody are stone-polished bare paste with a red band at the top of the underbody, with the neck interior red slipped with a black rim.
The wiped-on red band under the decorated panels is a good indicator for dating a jar. According to Harlow and Lanmon “Changes occurred over time in the contrast between the color of the red band and that of the unslipped underbody, and these changes can be helpful in dating a particular vessel…. On Zia Polychrome vessels, the contrast (between the red band and the polished underbody) tends to decease, and by around 1900-1910 it is often difficult to detect the difference between the red band and the underbody paste.” The red band on this vessel is definitely strong in color and easily discernable from the underbody color, thereby indicating a pre-1900 date.
The design field is divided into vertical quadrants—four wide panel areas and four narrow bands. The designs consist of numerous black triangles and triangles with fine lines. Some of the triangles have elongated tails attached, in kite form. A similar design appears on a jar in figure 8.3 in Harlow and Lanmon's bok on Zia Pueblo pottery (see below).
This jar illustrates well the freedom of design layout that developed at Zia Pueblo after 1860. This was a period where potters felt free to expand their repertoire of designs, unencumbered by self-imposed restrictions before 1860. There are no elements from the Trios era, nor Birds from the later era, just a free-form spectacular layout from the creative mind of the artist.
This jar is truly one of the finest of Zia jars. It is in excellent condition. A minor rim crack has been stabilized, but there is no infill with plaster nor is there any over-paint.
Reference and Recommended Reading: THE POTTERY OF ZIA PUEBLO by Harlow and Lanmon.
- Category: Historic
- Origin: Zia Pueblo
- Medium: Native Clay, pigment
- Size: 10-1/5" tall x 12-1/2" diameter
- Item # 25119
- Price Available On Request
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