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Zia Pueblo Very Large Polychrome Storage Jar

C4038A-zia.jpg

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Sofia Pino Medina (1932 - 2010)
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 13-1/2 height x 16-1/8” diameter
  • Item # C4038A
  • Price: $4,500.00

Photo courtesy of Gregory Schaaf. Left to right Sofia Medina and Lois Medina. Reference: Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf.This is an extraordinary jar by Sofia Medina, believed to have been made around 1980.  It is too large to qualify as an OLLA, so it is being designated as a storage jar.  Water jars, or ollas, rarely exceed 12 x 12 inches because they would be too heavy to carry when full of water.  Large jars, such as this one, generally are placed in a safe corner of a room and used for storage of anything the owner wishes to store in it.  Such large jars are rarely moved around but remain safely in their designated location.

Zia Pueblo pottery is among the sturdiness of pueblo pottery, due to it containing ground up basalt or lava as a tempering agent.  Zia stew bowls are considered the best for continuous use as they can withstand hot meals over and over in a short period.  Zia ollas, too, are most prized as water jars.  The jars are porous enough to allow water to seep through the wall of a jar sufficiently for evaporation and cooling of the water, yet the jar is strong enough to withstand the moisture.  The strength of Zia pottery serves its owner well for long-lasting use.

Sofia Medina is one of the best known of her generation of potters from Zia Pueblo.  She married into the Medina family in 1948.  She and her new husband, Rafael (1929-1998), lived with his grandmother, Trinidad Medina, who taught Sofia the techniques of potting. Her mentor, Trinidad, was one of the most talented potters at Zia and Sofia learned well and produced quality wares throughout her life.  Sofia used natural materials in her pottery, including the pigments for painting.  Her husband Rafael was known for using acrylic paints on pottery, applied after firing.

Sofia Pino Medina (1932 - 2010) signatureThis jar by Sofia is traditional in every aspect of its creation.  It has basalt as a tempering agent and was formed in traditional coil method, painted with natural materials and fired in an outdoor kiln.  She decorated the jar with traditional Zia symbols of capped feathers, Zia birds, and double rainbows, executed in four different colors.

The tan slip favored by Sofia yields to a solid polishing and develops to a beautiful ivory color over time.  The red and orange slips and the underbody of the jar are stone polished.  The black paint is in matte finish.  The base is flat, as is traditional for storage jars.  Only water jars have concave bases.  Sofia placed her name on the polished red underbody just below the double framing lines in the manner she has always done.


Condition: this Zia Pueblo Very Large Polychrome Storage Jar is in very good condition with minimal spalling

Provenance: from the estate of a family from Albuquerque, the husband of which was always searching for pottery for his wife.  Now, the two daughters of the couple are dispersing some of the collection.

Recommended Reading: The Pottery of Zia Pueblo by Harlow and Lanmon

Artist photo courtesy of Gregory Schaaf. Left to right Sofia Medina and Lois Medina.

Reference: Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf.

Close up view of side panel design.

Sofia Pino Medina (1932 - 2010)
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 13-1/2 height x 16-1/8” diameter
  • Item # C4038A
  • Price: $4,500.00

C4038A-zia.jpgC4038A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.