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Very Large Polychrome Santa Ana Pueblo Jar

C4151J-santa-ana.jpg

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Eudora Montoya (1905-1996)
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: Santa Ana Pueblo - Tamaya
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 10-½” height x 9-⅜” diameter
  • Item # C4151J
  • Price: $2,000.00

Eudora Montoya (1905-1996) Artist Image Source:  unknown.  ** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at Marketing@adobegallery.comThe original location of Santa Ana Pueblo (Native name, Tamaya) was close to Zia Pueblo and pottery from the two villages was quite similar in materials, technique and construction.  Natives of both Zia and Santa Ana share the same language—Keres.

In the mid-1700s, the pueblo acquired land near Bernalillo, just north of Albuquerque, for better farming. This change in location effected a change in pottery, as well.  Santa Ana abandoned using lava as a tempering agent and started using river sand found close to the new village, which they had named Ranchitos. The old village is still maintained by a caretaker and is open for the annual feast day.

Potters of Santa Ana Pueblo apparently did not significantly benefit from the influx of tourists with the arrival of train transportation to New Mexico in 1880.  Their new village was quite removed from the train station and too far north of Albuquerque. It was not until the World War II era that a few potters from there started selling pottery at Coronado State Monument near Albuquerque. Even this did not last long. By the mid-1970s, there was only one active potter at Santa Ana, and she was Eudora Montoya.

Montoya singly revived pottery production at the pueblo in the 1970s by teaching classes to a group of 18 women.  This revival spurred interest in Santa Ana contemporary pottery, however, that did not last long because most of the new potters did not continue production.  Once again, pottery from Santa Ana faded into history. One of Montoya's former students—Elvira S. Montoya—instituted another revival in 1994, a revival that is still surviving, but barely.  At this time there are only three active potters at Santa Ana, one of whom is from Zia Pueblo and produces pottery more like that from Zia than from Santa Ana, so, effectively, there are only two Santa Ana potters producing today.

Eudora Montoya was one of 19 potters selected in the early 1970s to go to Washington, D.C. to present pottery to the current First Lady, Mrs. Richard M. Nixon, at the White House.  One potter from each of the 19 active pueblos was selected for this honor. She had begun making pottery around 1920 and continued, on and off, until the 1980s.

This jar is a little unusual from the hands of Montoya in that it is larger than most she made.  It is one that was most likely made in the early years of her revival period, perhaps the 1980s.  The use of sand as a tempering agent often leaves the surface of a vessel in a rough and pitted state.  Montoya, however, overcame that tendency with her pottery. The surface of her pottery is smooth and clear as she took the extra time to polish it before painting the design.

Montoya used a variety of designs on this jar.  The most unique and interesting are the birds flying around the neck.  It takes a moment to realize that they are birds. That seems to be the theme of the design. The black design on the body has a bird’s head and the orange hooks are reminiscent of prehistoric bird symbols of ancient Sikyatki origin.  In various places throughout the body design are bird’s eyes. This is certainly one of the most creative of her designs and it was planned with care and executed beautifully.


Condition: very good condition with very minor slip cracks near the rim which are of no significance.

Provenance: this Very Large Polychrome Santa Ana Pueblo Jar is from the inherited collection of a family from Washington State

Recommended Reading:

- The Pottery of Santa Ana Pueblo by Francis H. Harlow, et al.

- Santa Ana: The People, the Pueblo, and the History of Tamaya by Laura Bayer with Floyd Montoya

Eudora Montoya (1905-1996) Artist Image Source:  unknown.  ** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at Marketing@adobegallery.com

Condition: very good condition with very minor slip cracks near the rim which are of no significance.


Eudora Montoya (1905-1996)
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: Santa Ana Pueblo - Tamaya
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 10-½” height x 9-⅜” diameter
  • Item # C4151J
  • Price: $2,000.00

C4151J-santa-ana.jpgC4151J-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.