Isleta Pueblo, Tue-I

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Southwest Indian Isleta Pueblo Pottery and Fine Art

There is very little published information on Isleta Pueblo pottery. Before 1900, it was strictly utilitarian ware and generally was thick walled and undecorated. Few museums or collectors were interested in it, so few examples have been documented.

Isleta Pueblo pottery most often seen today—painted polychrome wares—is of a style that developed after the arrival of a group of Laguna Pueblo families. They left their native Laguna Pueblo and moved to Isleta Pueblo in 1879, settling in a village they named Oraibi. They brought the traditional Laguna Pueblo Polychrome pottery style with them, and it eventually replaced the traditional Isleta plainware that had existed for centuries.

Prior to the arrival of the Laguna colony, the Isleta potters used sand as a tempering agent, resulting in pottery that was thick walled and not of the finest quality. The Laguna potters introduced the Isleta potters to potsherds as a tempering agent, thus resulting in thinner walled, stronger and higher quality wares.