Rare Laguna Pueblo Polychrome Historic Pottery OLLA [SOLD]

C4579B-pot.jpg

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Pueblo Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Laguna Pueblo, Ka'waika
  • Medium: clay, pigments
  • Size:
    12-⅜” height x 13-⅞” diameter
  • Item # C4579B
  • SOLD

Alternate view of this fine Laguna pottery vessel.

This historic pottery OLLA, or water jar, was created by a talented Laguna Pueblo potter between 1895 and 1900. It is an outstanding example of historic Laguna Pueblo pottery, and most certainly a rare and unique piece. Our attribution to Laguna Pueblo rather than Acoma Pueblo is due to the primary design elements. The unidentified potter used strong, right-angled geometric patterns of a somewhat architectural nature, with curved lines appearing only briefly in the areas surrounding the primary design. An Acoma Pueblo pottery vessel would rely more on rounded and curved elements.

This OLLA’s primary element, which repeats four times around the exterior, sets a diamond within a diamond. A stair stepped pattern surrounds this form in a gorgeous maroon tone. White and then black follow, expanding the design further horizontally. A thin band of triangular forms appears on the shoulder. Above it, a wider band appears, referencing the primary design band and treating the viewer to more of the rich maroon pigment. A thin band with a checkerboard pattern circles the olla just below its black rim.

Remarkably, the potter’s choice to create a complex web of straight lines and right angles does not feel severe or rigid.  Rather, it flows as freely and naturally as any fine Acoma Pueblo pottery vessel, despite sacrificing the loose fluidity of Acoma’s linked, rounded patterns in favor of strong corners and bold geometric forms.

The water jar’s form is similarly strong. It is well-balanced, with the slight variations that are typical of works from this period. The shoulder’s sharp turn inward has a Zuni Pueblo look to it, as does the darkened base, but there is little else here to suggest anyone other than a Laguna Pueblo potter. Everything about this piece is big and bold, but that strength does not come at the expense of elegance or sophistication as it might with the work of a less experienced potter. This is a very rare, exceptional example of fine historic Laguna Pueblo pottery.


Condition: excellent condition for its age. A thin crack has been stabilized, and a small amount of overpaint appears in one area near the stabilized crack.

Provenance: this Rare Laguna Pueblo Polychrome Historic Pottery OLLA is from a private collection

Recommended Reading: Acoma & Laguna Pottery by Rick Dillingham

TAGS: Laguna Pueblo, Ka'waikaSouthwest Indian PotteryAcoma Pueblo, Haak'u

Close up view of a sample of the Laguna Pueblo design elements.

Pueblo Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Laguna Pueblo, Ka'waika
  • Medium: clay, pigments
  • Size:
    12-⅜” height x 13-⅞” diameter
  • Item # C4579B
  • SOLD

C4579B-pot.jpgC4579B-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.