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San Ildefonso Pueblo Black on Red Jar [SOLD]

26050-pot.jpg

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Tonita Roybal (1954 – )
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 8-¾” height x 10-¼” diameter
  • Item # 26050
  • SOLD

Tonita Martinez Roybal (1892-1945) Antonita has been acclaimed to have been one of the finest potters of the twentieth century. She was a contemporary of Maria Martinez and sometimes collaborated with her. Roybal, in her early years, not only made all her own pottery, she decorated it as well. Only after she married Juan Cruz Roybal in 1916 did she have someone else paint her pottery. After 1930, her husband painted most of her pottery.

Tonita was the daughter of Dominguita Pino Martinez (1860-1948).   Her mother was her teacher. Dominguita was well known for making black-on-red jars and likely influenced her daughter to do the same. Tonita’s brother was Crescencio Martinez, a famous San Ildefonso Pueblo painter, known for easel painting as well as painting his mother’s pottery.

This jar is the shape of traditional Tewa water jars—small bottom expanding upward and outward to a mid-body bulge, then curving in and flaring out at the rim.  It was slipped from rim to 2/3rd down the body with a beautiful dark red clay. The lower 1/3rd was left in the natural state. The entire vessel was stone polished.

The bold black designs on the jar are an indication that it was probably painted by Tonita’s husband, Juan Cruz Roybal, in the 1920s.  The design panels with four square boxes each contain rain clouds. The adjoining panels have rain clouds in the upper left and lower right corners and three diagonal elements in the centers.  The two diagonal black elements with arrow-like edges point upward from earth to sky and downward from sky to earth. There is a possible connection to Mother Earth - Father Sky in their orientations.  The stepped element between those is reflective of kiva steps. This whole panel of design was framed by double framing lines at top and bottom.

The neck design is a series of black triangles, each alternating up and down around the neck. The neck design is also framed by double framing lines.  All framing lines and the black rim have ceremonial line breaks. The interior of the jar was left in the natural clay color and the first inch down from the rim appears to have been polished.

The designs on this jar suggest a ceremonial connection and such designs were traditionally painted by men as they were responsible for religious functions at the pueblo.

Interestingly, Kenneth Chapman, in his book The Pottery of San Ildefonso, made reference in a letter to Frederick Webb Hodge that “Tonita Roybal received a previously unheard-of figure for one of her ollas.” Batkin 1987:46  


Condition: this San Ildefonso Pueblo Black on Red Jar is in very good condition

Provenance: from the collection of a client from California

Reference: Batkin, Jonathan. Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700-1940, The Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center


Tonita Roybal (1954 – )
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 8-¾” height x 10-¼” diameter
  • Item # 26050
  • SOLD

26050-pot.jpg26050-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.