Tonita Peña Ba Tse, San Ildefonso Pueblo Pottery

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Tonita Peña Ba Tse (ca. 1847- ca. 1905) Yellow Deer—not to be confused with painter Tonita Peña Quah Ah or potter Toña Peña Vigil—was a potter from San Ildefonso Pueblo. In the Autumn 1991 Issue of American Indian Art Magazine, Jonathan Batkin used census records and personal correspondence to explore Peña’s family history, ultimately concluding that she was an ancestor of Maria Martinez and other notable San Ildefonso artists. According to Batkin, “Tonita Peña’s pots are among the most beautiful made at San Ildefonso at the turn of the century, and like Martina Vigil, Tonita Peña was among the last potters capable of making large storage jars.” Peña was not included in the 1910 census, so we presume that she passed away sometime during the first decade of the twentieth century.

Reference: Three Great Potters of San Ildefonso and Their Legacy,” Jonathan Batkin, American Indian Art Magazine Autumn 1981.

TAGS: Southwest Indian PotterySan Ildefonso PuebloHistoric Pottery