Rita (Salas) Shije Kayeiti’, Zia Pueblo Potter
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Zia Pueblo artist potter Rita (Salas) Shije Kayeiti created pottery long before signatures were the norm. These pots were made for her and tourism has not yet taken off nor had New Mexico even been a state of America's Union and still a Untied States territory. These were different times and the pottery created was utilitarian and very beautiful at the same time.
We know of Rita Salas Shije’s work through a photograph by Edward S. Curtis and photographs of pottery by her from the R. M. Camp Company, 1922, and the Julius Gans Store, Santa Fe, 1921. The jars in these two photographs share a graphic layout of a significant area of undecorated space. The jar from the Julius Gans photograph has paired oval dotted-leaf forms at the terminals of the hatchuring that are identical to those on the jar in this presentation. There is no doubt that the artist of the two are the same. Harlow & Lanmon 2003:308
“Rita [Salas] Shije Kayeiti’ (ca. 1867 to 1875-1956) was the daughter of Pablo (or San Antonio or Manual) Salas (ca. 1830 to 1842-1932) and San Juanita (or Juana or San Juana) Medina Salas (ca. 1843-1931). She married Isidro Shije (ca. 1865 to 1870 - ?) about 1895, and they had three children: Virginia Galvan Salas (ca. 1895-1984), Luciana (1898-1994), and José Juan (1917-1997).” ibid
Recommended Reading: The Pottery of Zia Pueblo by Harlow and Lanmon