Ohkay Owingeh - San Juan Polished Black Olla


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Pueblo Potter Unknown

Traditional pottery from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo is beautiful in the simplicity of its appearance. Novice collectors often do not appreciate Southwest Indian Pottery from there because they are generally more experienced with polychrome painted pottery of the other pueblos, but the beauty in the sensuous vessel shapes and the simplicity of design eventually wins over collectors with more experience.


One must remember that these bowls and jars were made by and for use of the potter who made them. For the most part, they were not made for sale, but for use, however, occasionally they made and sold them to Spanish households in towns like Española and Santa Fe because the women of those households appreciated them as well.


This black jar illustrates well how strikingly a vessel shape can define the beauty of a piece devoid of decoration. The very globular lower body extends upward to a short neck that curls out to a fluted rim. The upper three-fourths of the jar was slipped in red clay which, when fired in a reduction firing, turned a deep black. The underbody is grey in color with a profusion of fire clouds. The jar is truly spectacular.


Condition: there is a rim chip of no great significance and some minor slip loss on the body.

Provenance: from the collection of Katherine H. Rust

Recommended Reading: Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700 - 1940 by Jonathan Batkin


Pueblo Potter Unknown
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