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Ohkay Owingeh Large Red Bowl with Fluted Rim [R]


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Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo had a strong tradition of plainware pottery production prior to 1900.  Pottery styles included Black-over-gray and Red-over-tan, the difference being only from the firing technique.  Pottery was slipped only partially, usually the upper half, in red clay.  If fired in an oxidizing atmosphere, the result was Red-over tan, the tan being the natural color of the clay body.  If fired in a reduction firing, the result was Black-over-gray, the gray resulting from the firing effect on the natural tan clay body.


Those two styles of pottery were the extent of pottery production at the pueblo.  The lack of painted designs was the reason such vessels were so beautiful.  Vessel shape and high burnish were the traits that brought out the beauty of each jar or bowl. 


Occasionally, a solid red or solid black item was made, achieved by covering the entire vessel with red slip.  That is what was done with this unusual and magnificent very large open bowl with a fluted rim.  Both front and back are solid red.  Explaining the reason for such a bowl is pure speculation.  It does not appear to be like any published bowls from Ohkay Owingeh.  It is quite likely that it was a special order from a nearby Santa Fe resident to a potter for a unique bowl to use as a fruit bowl or simply for display on one’s table.


The bowl dates to pre-1900, the period before pottery production disappeared.  A revival took place in the 1930s, but of a different style.  This bowl represents pure Ohkay Owingeh historic pottery in technique.  It is amazingly beautiful and impressive in scale.


Condition; very good condition with expected minor scratches and a single minor rim chip.


Provenance: originally collected by Mr. Howard Huston, formerly of Santa Fe, who sold it to the current owner of Texas.


Recommended Reading: Pueblo Pottery of the New Mexico Indians: Ever Constant, Ever Changing by Betty Toulouse


Alternate side view of this vessel.

C3889C-bowl.jpgC3889C-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.