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San Ildefonso Polychrome Jar with Red Rim

SC3680E-jar.jpg

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Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 10-1/4” tall x 12” diameter
  • Item # SC3680E
  • Price: $8,750.00

According to information published by the noted expert on historic Pueblo pottery, Frank Harlow, pottery production declined considerably at San Ildefonso Pueblo until, by 1830, its output was limited to large storage jars and a few smaller jars.  Families at San Ildefonso traded food and other items to Nambe Pueblo potters in exchange for pottery needed for their use.  This continued until around 1880, at which time pottery production at San Ildefonso underwent a revitalization sparked by the arrival of tourists on the newly instituted the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway cross-country train.  The new pottery being produced was designated as San Ildefonso Polychrome with a beginning date of 1880 and an end date that is yet to be determined.

 

The newly-made Polychrome pottery was, for the most part, made to satisfy the demands of the incoming visitors, with an eye toward pleasing these buyers more so than making functional wares for use at the pueblo.  Many new designs were selected for their artistic merit.  Conscientious effort was made for making pottery that would be attractive to the public.

 

By 1900, Polychrome pottery production began to enter another decline as there were only a few potters at the pueblo who actively produced itMartina and Florentino Montoya, Dominguita Pino, Tonita Pena and Toña Pena Vigilall of whom were approaching advanced age.  Another event further caused a cease in production of San Ildefonso Polychrome pottery and that was the introduction of Cochiti slip to replace the traditional San Ildefonso slip around 1905.  San Ildefonso slip required stone polishing and Cochiti slip only required rag polishing, a much less demanding effort.  The introduction of Cochiti slip facilitated a new nomenclatureTunyo Polychromefor those wares.  Only stone-polished wares retained the San Ildefonso Polychrome nomenclature.  Both San Ildefonso Polychrome and Tunyo Polychrome continued until around 1925 and then began to be replaced by the newly popular Black-on-black wares being made by Maria and Julian Martinez.

 

This jar has all the attributes of San Ildefonso Polychrome.  The traditional San Ildefonso slip was used, as evidenced by stone-polishing marks.  A red rim extends down into the interior lip, a lip that features an opening to accommodate the handle of a ladle.  There probably was a lid for the jar at some point but it no longer exists.  The design is very close to those seen on Santo Domingo and Cochiti jars, including line breaks in the double framing lines on the neck.  It is suspected that San Ildefonso potters borrowed designs they liked and used them to enhance sales of their pottery to the incoming travelers.  The stone-polished slip and the thinness of the red band on the underbody definitely tie its origin to San Ildefonso.

 

Condition: very good condition with a minor rim chip professionally restored.

Reference and Recommended ReadingHistoric Pottery of the Pueblo Indians 1600-1880 by Larry Frank & Francis H. Harlow.  One copy of the first edition of this book is currently available from Adobe Gallery.

Provenance: from a Santa Fe collection

This jar has all the attributes of San Ildefonso Polychrome.  The traditional San Ildefonso slip was used, as evidenced by stone-polishing marks.  A red rim extends down into the interior lip, a lip that features an opening to accommodate the handle of a ladle.  There probably was a lid for the jar at some point but it no longer exists.

Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 10-1/4” tall x 12” diameter
  • Item # SC3680E
  • Price: $8,750.00

SC3680E-jar.jpgSC3680E-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.