Historic San Ildefonso Polychrome Pottery Pitcher [SOLD]

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Potter Once Known

This polychrome pottery pitcher was made by an unknown San Ildefonso Pueblo potter. We would estimate that it dates to the 1920s and was made for non-pueblo use. Smaller pieces like this one were easy to sell and easy for the buyer to transport home as a token of their visit to New Mexico.

This is a short, round form—a bowl, almost, but with a handle and spout attached. Its body curves inward slightly before reversing course to form a flared rim. Rain clouds in red circle the exterior, with black lines appearing above and below the clouds. A similar design circles the interior, varying from the exterior design by including black clouds. Four parallel lines travel along the handle. It is evident in the form and design of this piece that its maker was both skilled and inventive.

Our location on Canyon Road in Santa Fe is relatively close to San Ildefonso Pueblo, so it is not unusual for us to receive visitors from the pueblo who come to view pottery made by their relatives or ancestors. Their interest in viewing pottery is not limited only to those that had been made for pueblo use, but also there is an interest in items made for non-pueblo use. The traditions involved in making pottery, and the reverence to Mother Earth for providing the ingredients, is not limited to those made only for use at the pueblo. A pottery vessel that has aged off the pueblo has the same spiritual meaning and reverence as one that spent its life in a pueblo home.

A small pitcher like this may or may not have had a useful function in a San Ildefonso home, but it is still a San Ildefonso creation and receives the venerable affection as any other vessel. We have witnessed potters from San Ildefonso greet and handle old vessels while visually appreciating their existence, and proudly discuss them with us.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Historic San Ildefonso Polychrome Pottery Pitcher is from a private New Mexico collection

Recommended Reading: Modern Pueblo Pottery 1880-1960 by Francis H. Harlow

TAGS: Southwest Indian PotterySan Ildefonso PuebloHistoric PotteryAnasazi - Ancestral Pueblo

Alternate inside view off this pottery pitcher.

Potter Once Known
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