San Ildefonso Polychrome Water Pitcher and Basin Set


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Artist Unknown

Close up view of one of the birds.

Most likely no one remembers using a water pitcher and basin with which to freshen up but we all remember seeing such commercial ones in antique stores.  I was not aware that any pueblo potter ever made one until this set appeared at the gallery from a Santa Fe resident.


The pitcher has a beautiful shape with its low and wide body and long slender neck and generous pouring spout.  Two large and exquisite polychrome birds fill the upper body and neck, and they are separated by three heart-shape designs.  The interior spout and rim are highly decorated with polychrome elements and the handle is fully decorated with red triangles outlined in black.  A red band was wiped on in the interior of the neck and three framing lines, with ceremonial line breaks, are near the base of the pitcher.


The pitcher sits comfortably in the bowl which is covered in a wiped-on cream slip.  A black band on the rim features a ceremonial line break.  The interior of the bowl is beautifully decorated with an elongated polychrome design with two hooked appendages.  The exterior of the bowl is slipped in red.  This set probably dates to circa 1910-20.


Condition: both pitcher and bowl are in excellent structural condition.  The bowl has some paint abrasion where the pitcher made contact.

Provenance: this San Ildefonso Polychrome Water Pitcher and Basin Set is from a resident of Santa Fe who inherited it from her grandmother

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

Inside view of the bowl.Bottom of bowl.

Artist Unknown
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