Southwest Indian Pottery: Historic

Origin: Isleta Pueblo, Tue-I

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Southwest Indian Isleta Pueblo Pottery and Fine Art

Isleta Pueblo LogoThere 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.

Isleta, which means “Little Island” (Spanish for islet), was given its name by the conquering Spaniards due to its location on a tongue of land projecting from the east bank into the Rio Grande.

Isleta Pueblo is fifteen miles south of Albuquerque. Their Feast day is September 4th, honoring their patron saint, St Augustine. 

Photo Source: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Website.