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Black-on-black Wide Flaring Rim Bowl

C3832-bowl.jpg

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Maria Montoya Poveka Martinez (1887-1980) Pond Lily
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay
  • Size: 3-1/4” deep x 8” diameter
  • Item # C3832
  • Price: $2,500.00

Maria and Julian Martinez were very creative artists and, early in their careers, were experimental with designs and shapes.  Sometimes we marvel at their creativity.  This bowl has a wide-flaring rim and is much more in the vessel shape of a traditional chile bowl or small serving bowl.  If it had been made at Santo Domingo Pueblo, there would be no doubt that it was meant for a chile bowl.

 

The bowl has a flat bottom that measures 4-1/4” diameter and the wall expands upward for a little over 3 inches and outward to a diameter at the top of 8 inches.  The exterior surface is stone polished and decorated at the rim with a ring of simple matte black clouds.  The interior is stone polished and also decorated with rain clouds suspended from the rim with four areas of rain falling in rays of three black triangular shapes.

 

On the interior of the bowl at the bottom center is a matte black X, an explanation for which I do not have.  I do not recall ever seeing an X painted on any pottery by Maria and Julian but have no doubts that they were the makers of this, probably early in their black-on-black careers, perhaps in the 1920s.

 

According to the current owner “The piece is dated around 1923.  I had spoken to Maria’s niece (name not recorded) at the San Ildefonso Pueblo in 1979.  She spoke to Maria & showed her the photographs of the bowl.  Said Marie coiled it and Julian painted the design.  It is a very early one and they had just begun to use that shape.  It was probably made 12 to 18 years before Julian died in 1943.”

 

It is unfortunate that the name of the niece was not recorded.  That would provide us with a chance to corroborate the story, but that can no longer be done.  It also is unfortunate that Maria was shown only photographs and not given a chance to examine the bowl in person.  Maria passed away in 1980 at a very advanced age so I doubt she could have accurately evaluated the photos of this bowl in 1979.

 

....Someone has scratched Julian’s name on the underside of the bowl ....The bowl was not signed by Maria and Julian at the time it was made.  Someone has scratched Julian’s name on the underside of the bowl but the signature is not at all like any used by Maria or her sisters when signing pottery.  I am not casting doubt on whether they made the bowl or not as I believe it to be one of theirs.  I am only casting doubt on Maria’s ability to accurately identify it as having been made by them, only from viewing photographs at her advanced age.

 

Condition:  structurally in very good condition with some scratches on the interior, near the bottom, and some minor blistering on the exterior in one area, and a very minor chip at the rim.

Provenance: from the collection of a family from Massachusetts. 

Recommended Reading: The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez by Richard Spivey

Maria Montoya Poveka Martinez (1887-1980) Pond Lily
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay
  • Size: 3-1/4” deep x 8” diameter
  • Item # C3832
  • Price: $2,500.00

C3832-bowl.jpgC3832-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.