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Historic Deep Dough Bowl from San Juan Pueblo

C4205-bowl.jpg

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Pueblo Potter Unknown

The arrival of the Spaniards in the late 1500s had very little effect on pottery production at the pueblos in either shape or design, but by the 1700s, there were noticeable changes.  Still later, with the opening of the Santa Fe Trail in 1821 and the arrival of the transcontinental railroad in 1880, change became inevitable at pueblos located close to the non-Indian populations.

Even though San Juan Pueblo, now Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, was only 6 miles from Espanola,  its potters stuck to original pottery traditions of simple undecorated utilitarian wares that were so beautiful in vessel shape and simple slipped surfaces highlighted by fire clouds.  Even today, a hundred years after the pueblo abandoned its traditional style for a more modern style to appeal to tourists and collectors, the beautiful undecorated wares of the pueblo are still capturing the eyes of collectors.

This polished red-over-tan large dough bowl is from the turn of the past century and is a standard Tewa shape from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, deriving directly from seventeenth and eighteenth century bowls with upright sides and constricted neck.

The exterior of the vessel was slipped in red clay around the restricted neck and then stone-polished to a high luster. The remaining body of the bowl was left in the natural clay body and stone polished.  The interior of the bowl was stone polished as well. The bowl was then fired in a traditional outdoor firing process, resulting in a beautiful array of fire clouds on the interior and exterior.

The shape of the bowl is very pleasing.  It flares out from the bottom to midway of the vessel body then gracefully curves inward before rising to a long and graceful neck that has a gentle concave shape.

This is an extraordinary bowl that needs no written accolades to speak of its beauty. It stands alone on its own merits.  The firecloud display is absolutely amazingly beautiful and clearly defines why potters at San Juan chose to use them as decoration.


Condition: this Historic Deep Dough Bowl from San Juan Pueblo is in very good condition with a single very small rim chip that is not distracting in any manner.

Provenance: from a gentleman from Taos, New Mexico

Recommended Reading: Pueblo Pottery of the New Mexico Indians: Ever Constant, Ever Changing (A Museum of New Mexico Press Guidebook) by Betty Toulouse

Pueblo Potter Unknown
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