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San Ildefonso Large Globular Polychrome Olla

C4068F-jar.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 10” height x 11-¼” diameter
  • Item # C4068F
  • Price: $7,500.00

Long before Black-on-black pottery became the staple at San Ildefonso Pueblo, potters there had produced a variety of historic pottery types: Black-on-cream, Black-on-red and Polychrome types predominantly.  Powhoge Polychrome, which was black-on-cream, in the 1850-1880 period, gave way to San Ildefonso Polychrome, starting in the 1890s, in which red paint was added to the design.  Concurrently, some potters began abandoning the red paint on the rim in favor of black, around the same time.

This jar is globular in shape, similar to Powhoge Polychrome, with the addition of a rolled out rim, a shape seen in early San Ildefonso Polychrome.  The cream slip was stone polished, the slip used before potters changed to Cochiti slip around 1905, which did not require stone polishing.  The black vegetal paint and the red paint used in the design of this jar are very strong and bold. The deep red paint seen in San Ildefonso pottery is the same paint used by the men for body decoration.  The lighter red, almost orange, seen on later pottery is from another clay source. It is estimated that this jar dates to circa 1890 or maybe a decade earlier.

There is no attempt to guess who might have made the jar, or who might have painted it, but it is obvious that only the best potter and best painter of the time did so.  The jar is truly magnificent in construction and design. The design is quite unique for the period. The undulating string around the mid body anchors the attached oval designs. It is interesting to see the alternating use of color for those elements—a design concept used by Florentino Montoya, but perhaps also by others. We see this alternating color use on the semicircle band at the rim, on the semicircle band on the shoulder and again on the floating objects on the body design.

There are double black framing lines at the rim, on the shoulder, and below the design panel, none of which feature ceremonial line breaks.  The half-inch-wide red band below the design panel is typical of the period. The red rim is typical of the pre-1900 period as well.


Condition: this San Ildefonso Large Globular Polychrome Olla is in very good condition
Recommended Reading:  Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700-1940 by Jonathan Batkin.
Provenance: from the extensive Southwest Indian Pottery collection of a family from Colorado

Close up view of side panel design.

  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 10” height x 11-¼” diameter
  • Item # C4068F
  • Price: $7,500.00

C4068F-jar.jpgC4068F-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.