Santo Domingo Very Large Historic Storage Jar


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Artist Unknown

Santo Domingo pottery of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is not expected to vary much from what is thought to be tradition for that pueblo, however, occasionally a potter chose to perhaps make a statement with her work.  If there is a storage jar that one could consider having made a statement, this is it. It is not our intent to interpret the thoughts and practices of potters or to say they have followed tradition or departed from tradition. It is only our observation that a jar such as this one is not what one immediately expects to see from the hands of a potter from Kewa Pueblo from the time we expect this was made.

Potters who wish to sell their wares must navigate and balance what they know as pueblo tradition and what the art market demands.  They have to consider what the dealers, collectors and museum curators say and, in the end, tailor their wares to meet the demand they seek.  In the instance of this oversize jar, the potter perhaps had in mind a commercial market rather than use in her home.

It is difficult to arrive at a date when the jar was made as several factors seem contradictory.  The vessel shape with its sharp curved neck roll are quite similar to a jar from the Kenneth Chapman collection that has been dated circa 1900-1910.  The wiped on red band under the decorated panel, measuring 1-¾” wide, is indicative of historic pottery of 1880. Yet, the condition of the jar and the bold design tend to hint at mid-twentieth century.  

We think it is a fair assessment to say that the vessel shape and wide red band are more definitive clues to a circa 1890-1910 attribution.  The excellent condition of the jar can be attributed to it having been in a personal collection and well taken care of. The design may be attributed to a creative artist who was ahead of her contemporaries in placing a design of such magnificence on her jar.

Condition: this Santo Domingo Very Large Historic Storage Jar is in very good condition

Provenance: from the Southwest Indian Pottery collection of a gentleman from Albuquerque

Reference: A River Apart—The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos edited by Valerie K. Verzuh

Close up view of side panel BOLD design.

Artist Unknown
C4119F-storage.jpgC4119F-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.