San Ildefonso Pueblo Very Large Polychrome Historic Pottery Storage Jar


+ Add to my watchlist Forward to Friend

Martina Vigil and Florentino Montoya, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potters

The Rarity and Significance of Large Pottery Storage Jars

Large pottery storage jars are a rarity, with most households having possessed only one or two. Few, if any, were crafted for the non-Indian market. This exceptional and rare jar, dating from 1900-1910, has recently become available and we are pleased to have it at the gallery.

According to Jonathan Batkin, the San Ildefonso Polychrome typology supplanted the Powhoge Polychrome typology in the 1890s, introducing red to the design palette. The red rim slip was replaced by black between 1895 and 1910. Furthermore, the rag-wiped Cochiti slip started to replace the stone-polished San Ildefonso slip around 1900. These indicators have led us to assign a date of 1900-1910 to this jar.

The jar's construction involved native clay, hand coiling, and a rag-wiped white Cochiti bentonite slip. The design was painted over this with mineral and vegetal paints. It features a black painted rim, a stone-polished natural clay interior, a partially slipped white clay body, a red underbody band, and an un-slipped, polished base—all typical characteristics of the period.

The storage jar has two design sections—around the neck and over the body. The neck design features inverted triangles that alternate in black and red. Each triangle design is divided into four sections defined by the cream slip interrupting the solid triangle design.

The body design is a spectacular combination of continuous swirls executed in black pigment and circumnavigating the vessel. The tips of the swirls vary slightly in design placement but all feature checkerboard elements. Pendant from the framing line are black triangles arranged in bowtie form from which each has a red pigment teardrop with a cream window.

Martina Vigil (1856-1916) and Florentino Montoya (1858-1918) introduced the Cochiti Pueblo bentonite slip to San Ildefonso Pueblo potters. They discovered that Cochiti potters did not need to stone-polish the white slip they used, unlike the San Ildefonso potters. Between 1902 and 1905, this influential couple moved to Cochiti Pueblo, having already introduced the bentonite slip to the potters of their former home. Florentino, when painting a design, often painted adjacent designs in alternating black and red.

Assigning works to artists is somewhat arbitrary but is an acceptable practice when based on known works for comparisons. Martina and Florentino were known for making large storage jars. They introduced the Cochiti bentonite slip to fellow potters, and Florentino had favorite painting techniques he used. It is for these reasons that we have suggested that they are the potter and painter who made this magnificent large storage jar.

Condition:  the storage jar has undergone professional conservation to correct cracks over the body.  The jar was not broken and did not need reassembly.  It only required repairs to the cracks.

Provenance: this San Ildefonso Pueblo Very Large Polychrome Historic Pottery Storage Jar is from a private collector

Recommended ReadingPottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700-1940 by Jonathan Batkin

TAGS: Southwest Indian PotterySan Ildefonso PuebloHistoric PotteryMartina Vigil and Florentino Montoya, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potters

Martina Vigil and Florentino Montoya, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potters
25555-storage2.jpg25555-large2.jpg Click on image to view larger.