San Ildefonso Pueblo Historic Polychrome Pottery Jar with Red Rim


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Pueblo Potter Unknown

The vessel shape of this San Ildefonso Pueblo Historic Polychrome Pottery Jar with Red Rim is spectacular.  It rises from a small base, expands outward in rounded fashion curving in to a shoulder that is the beginning of a long graceful sloping neck. 

The bottom third of the jar is void of design as is traditional on most jars.  There is a narrow polished red band at the top of the base slip.  

The globular third of the jar is the body and it features extraordinary design element styles.  One is perhaps a stylized back-to-back bird with bodies touching and with eyes at the ends. The other pair is centered with cross hatching on a diamond shape with cloud style appendages in red outlined in black.

The remaining third of the jar is the long and graceful neck which has criss crossing bars composed of four black parallel lines.  The criss crossing lines form a diamond in their centers and black triangles in the void areas. Surrounding the neck, centered in the middle of the cream diamonds is a black band centered with an orange circle surrounded by black dots.  There is a pair of thin framing lines at the top of the neck and a wide band surrounded by thin framing lines at the base of the neck design. There is also a pair of black framing lines at the bottom of the body design. The framing lines do not feature ceremonial line breaks.  The rim is comprised of polished red slip that extends inside the rim for an inch or so.

The designs are so unusual on the surface of this jar that we are not in a position to make an attribution to a potter and design painter at this time.  The artistic floating designs on the body contrast strongly with the structured and organized diamonds on the neck, yet the contrast is what makes this one so appealing.

The cream slip was stone polished, an indication that it is the traditional San Ildefonso slip used prior to the potters adapting to the Cochiti Pueblo bentonite slip that did not require stone polishing.  This would indicate a date for this jar of circa 1890 to 1900. The polished red rim is another indication of age as potters stopped using red in favor of the use of black between 1895 and 1910.  

Condition: very good condition for a jar of its age.  There is minor spalling on the underbody in a single area.

Provenance: from the collection of a resident of Santa Fe


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

Relative Links: Southwest Indian PotterySan Ildefonso PuebloHistoric Pottery

Alternate view of side panel designs.

Pueblo Potter Unknown
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