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Zia Pueblo Very Small Polychrome Jar


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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 3-½” height x 4-⅝” diameter
  • Item # C4068M
  • Price: $1,350.00

If the 1910 United States Federal Census is correct, there were no potters at Zia Pueblo at that time.  Of course, we know this not true. The census taker probably did not consider pottery-making a profession so did not indicate it on the forms.  

The American Museum of Natural History made collections at Zia in 1899 and again in 1910.  James Stevenson made collections at Zia in 1880 and he and Matilda Coxe Stevenson made collections there in 1887. George Pepper collected at Zia in 1903.  These collections demonstrate that a variety of shapes and decorative styles were being made at the time.

When did potters at Zia start making pottery suitable for tourists?  Probably around the mid 1920s, according to Odd Halseth who spent several months at Zia in 1926.  He reported that production consisted of an occasional item for tourist trade.

This small jar is most certainly one made for the tourist trade.  A jar of such a size served no traditional functional purpose at the pueblo.  It was made using all traditional materials and techniques, only smaller in scale.  The split leaf design element is illustrated in an 1888 photograph of two Zia sisters, one of which carries a jar on her head with split leaves prominently shown.  The very deep red pigment and the dark brown pigment are probably of a mineral source. There is good evidence that the temper is basalt as it is quite visible on the underside.   

The jar is a jewel of an early twentieth century piece from Zia Pueblo.  It was expertly made.

Condition: this historic Zia Pueblo Very Small Polychrome Jar is in very good condition

Provenance: from the extensive Southwest Indian Pottery collection of a family from Colorado

Reference: Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico 1700-1940 by Jonathan Batkin

Close up view of side panel design.
  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Zia Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 3-½” height x 4-⅝” diameter
  • Item # C4068M
  • Price: $1,350.00

C4068M-zia.jpgC4068M-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.