Zia Pueblo Extra Large Historic Storage Jar [SOLD]


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Pueblo Potter Unknown
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo, Tsi-ya
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 19-¾” height x 20-⅛” diameter
  • Item # C4654B
  • SOLD

Overall, Zia Pueblo Polychrome pottery jars are more pleasing and precise in their execution than those of the earlier period. This jar combines the best qualities of Zia Polychrome with the finest designs of the Trios Polychrome period.

Typology designations of pueblo pottery have been assigned by noted authorities based on observed changes over decades. At Zia Pueblo, one of the earlier designations is Puname Polychrome (1700-1760) which was followed by the designation San Pablo Polychrome (1760-1820), then Trios Polychrome (1820-1860) and, finally, today's designation of Zia Polychrome (1860-present).

This exceptionally large Zia Pueblo storage jar, approximately 20 x 20 inches, is from the Zia Polychrome period and dates to circa 1890-1910. The design, however, is a carryover from the Trios Polychrome period and is assigned the name Trios Polychrome design. It is fortunate that potters of this later period recognized the beauty of the Trios Polychrome design and continued its use from the 1820s to the present. It is still used today by some potters.

This storage jar has the globular shape of Trios Polychrome jars rather than the high-shoulder olla shape of Zia Polychrome jars; however, it is not likely that this jar is as old as the 1860 end of Trios Polychrome. It is likely that it was made by a potter who was experienced with the earlier shape and continued its use into the later period. A potter who was young in 1860 could have continued making pottery for another 60 or more years, continuing as she was taught and with which she was experienced.

This jar has the polished red underbody of Zia Polychrome period rather than the tan coarsely stroked surface of the earlier Trios Polychrome-another indication of it being from the Zia Polychrome period. Because the Trios Polychrome capped designs continued into the Zia Polychrome period-and still are being used today-dating of these jars must be based on vessel form more so than on design.

The spiral design on this jar starts with the spiral circle in an up position and runs to a second spiral in a down position. Nestled in the wedge of each of the spiral circles is a polychrome element that has been designated as a feather. The black portion of this design, with the pair of curved tips has been described as a seed pod, and the red portion of the design is a feather.

The interiors of the spirals are filled with a three-part design resembling a floral element. These interior designs have been designated as "trident fillings of spirals". Riding piggyback on the line connecting the two main spirals are two minor spirals, each with a pair of black-outlined red leaves or ovals. This is seen on other circa 1900 Trios Polychrome design jars.

It is traditional to expect to see stylized feather caps as the single motif around the neck of the jar. This jar, however, has none of these on the neck. Rather, the potter provided a display of solid black, split black, and black fine line elements.

This jar is extraordinary in massive size, physical shape, exceptional design, and overall condition.

Condition: UV examination reveals no breakage, but some overpaint and surface abrasions of the slip.

Provenance: this Zia Pueblo Extra Large Historic Storage Jar is from a private collection from the Midwest

Reference and Recommended Reading:  The Pottery of Zia Pueblo by Francis H. Harlow and Dwight P. Lanmon

TAGS: Zia Pueblohistoric potterycontemporary pottery

Alternate view of this very large Zia Pueblo storage jar.