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Late 19th century Polychrome Child’s Water Jar

26059-zia.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 4-1/2” height x 6-3/4” diameter
  • Item # 26059
  • Price: $1,250.00

Dating older pottery is not always simple.  Comparisons with museum collections that have accurate dates of collection of a vessel can be used when comparing two vessels that are similar.  Sometimes a vessel shape can be used in dating, as can a change in materials.  At Zia Pueblo, however, there were very few changes in materials, shapes, or other factors during the historic period.  A few hundred vessels from Zia were collected between 1881 and 1887 for the Smithsonian and those can be used for comparison of dates.  And, yet, there are almost no two vessels alike or similar enough to be used for such comparisons.  That leaves the researcher with little by which to help identify a subject vessel.

What one must do is use experience, intuition, and gut feelings and, hopefully, a date within a decade or two can be surmised.  That is the process by which we date this small olla, referred to as a “child’s water jar.”  It has the rounded globular shape of jars of the 1880-1920 period, which is one clue.  It has a simple zig zag design reminiscent of designs used before the tourist period.  It has a wide red band on the lower part of the jar, a band that slowly became slimmer and slimmer until it disappeared totally around 1930.  That red band was very evident when placed on the un-slipped lower body, but, by 1900-1910 it became weaker and less detectable.  Most important, it is a beautifully thin-walled vessel with a slightly rolled out rim.

Based on these factors, it has been surmised that the jar dates between 1890-1910, with the probability of the earlier date being most likely.  There is no hesitation in dating this jar to 1890 and possibly a few years earlier.


Condition:  very good condition for its age.  There is no repair or restoration. Some minor crazing to slip but nothing serious.

Provenance: this Late 19th century Polychrome Child's Water Jar is from a New Mexico resident

Recommended Reading: The Pottery of Zia Pueblo by Harlow and Lanmon

Close up view of side panel design.

  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 4-1/2” height x 6-3/4” diameter
  • Item # 26059
  • Price: $1,250.00

26059-zia.jpg26059-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.