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Four Color Polychrome Zia Olla, circa 1890s


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Potter Unknown

Zia Pueblo refrained from making tourist-related pottery during the late 1800s when other pueblos succumbed to doing so.  Zia potters did make pottery for sale in the latter half of the 1800s but they only improved over those that they made for their own use.  They took pride in making better pottery for sale than for their own use.  That, in part, is the reason there are so many beautiful Zia ollas from 1880 to 1930.


Harlow and Lanmon, in their book The Pottery of Zia Pueblo, largely devoted a chapter to what they described as split rectanglesthe design seen on this jar at the widest point of diameter and colored orange.  Black split rectangles circumnavigate the neck of the jar. They state that split rectangles became quite prominent about 1880.  Such prominence is accented by the use of red and deep black design elements as compliments.  The potter of this jar filled all available space with design. 


The design on this jar is evidence that pride and skill in design creation was alive and well at Zia in the late 1800s.  Zia potters wisely chose not to succumb to tourist wares but to keep producing the best possible for the market.  It is for this reason that there are so many beautiful Zia jars in museum collections and on the market today. 


Condition:  very good condition with some cracks on the lower portion of the jar in an area that appears to have overheated during firing.

Reference and Recommended Reading: The Pottery of Zia Pueblo by Harlow and Lanmon.  This book is currently not available from Adobe Gallery.

Provenance: acquired from a family in Colorado

Potter Unknown
C3595J-zia.jpgC3595J-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.