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Historic Acoma Pueblo 20th Century Four Color Polychrome Jar

C3973E-acoma.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Acoma Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigments
  • Size: 9” height x 12-1/4” diameter
  • Item # C3973E
  • Price: $4,500.00

It has generally been accepted that Acoma pottery with a deep red color in the design was not made after 1900 due to the loss of the clay bed from which the red clay was located.  It is possible, however, that some potters may have had a supply of the red put away for future use.  The red pigment was used sparingly in this jar but it was important to the potter as part of her design plan.

Equally important to the potter was creating a two-dimensional design that would best fit her three-dimensional surface.  The most elaborate and beautiful designs appear to have been reserved for use on water jars, perhaps because such a jar would be seen continuously in the kitchen where daily work was done and family gatherings were frequent.

The pride of a job well done could have been a motivating factor for a potter.  Her family would see a display of her discipline and talent continuously.  Neighbors and visitors would see and compliment the potter on a beautiful jar.  The potter herself would enjoy a beautiful jar in her kitchen as she toiled away on daily chores.  We often think that beauty on a jar was made for the benefit of an eventual purchaser, but it first was made for the benefit of the maker.

The design on this jar is a combination of elaborate four-color fans or, perhaps, turkey tail spreads, and simple black-on-white geometric and fine-line elements.  The deep red color was reserved for use in these fan elements.  Orange bars outlined in brown lines were used to set borders on the multi-colored design sections.  A brown box filled with fine lines set the border for the geometric design.  The line elements mix beautifully with the curved elements and the brown-on-white elements sit well with the colorful ones.

The potter had an excellent sense of design and color and she chose a good balance of shapes and colors for this jar.  The high shoulder, above mid-point, is an indication of a mid-20th century jar.  Minor spalling of the clay is another trait of mid-20th century pottery from Acoma.  Even with the use of red pigment in the design, it is likely that this jar dates to circa 1940s.


Condition: very good condition with some minor spalling of the clay

Provenance: this Historic Acoma Pueblo 20th Century Four Color Polychrome Jar is from the collection of a gentleman from Oregon

Recommended Reading: Acoma & Laguna Pottery by Rick Dillingham

Close up view of side panel design.


  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Acoma Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigments
  • Size: 9” height x 12-1/4” diameter
  • Item # C3973E
  • Price: $4,500.00

C3973E-acoma.jpgC3973E-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.