Native American Ceramics

American Indians of the Southwest began making functional pottery at least 2,000 years ago. The skills needed to make these vessels passed from generation to generation, a tradition that continues to this day. Geographic variations in clay, along with regional preferences for certain designs and shapes, meant that distinct styles became associated with permanent villages, which the Spanish called pueblos. When the railroad brought visitors to the Southwest in the late 19th century, potters responded by selling their wares, and an ongoing market became established for pottery made as art. For the first time, many makers began to sign their work, and individual potters became known and their works collected. These artists drew inspiration from their ancestors and built upon their traditions. The art of their adventuresome descendants has become increasingly elaborate, detailed, personal, and political over time.

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  • Helen Cordero (Cochiti, 1915–1994)
    Storyteller. n.d.
  • Helen Shupla (Santa Clara, 1928‒1985)
    Melon Bowl. n.d.
  • Hubert Candelario (San Felipe, born 1965)
    Jar. 2014.
  • JoAnn Chino Garcia (Acoma, 1961)
    Vessel. 1991.
  • Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara, born 1969)
    Large Square Jar with 194 Figures. 2003.
  • Lisa Holt (Cochiti, born 1980) and Harlan Reano (Kewa (Santo Domingo), born 1978)
    Skull Jar. 2012.
  • Lonnie Vigil (Nambé, born 1949)
    Jar. n.d.
  • Lorraine Williams (Navajo, born 1955)
    Large Storage Jar with Eight Yei Figures. circa 1995.
  • Margaret Tafoya (Santa Clara, 1904–2001)
    Vessel. n.d.
  • Maria Martinez (San Ildefonso, 1887–1980) and Julian Martinez (San Ildefonso, ca. 1885–1943)
    Bowl with Checkerboard and Kiva Step Designs. before 1930.
  • Marie Zieu Chino (Acoma, 1907–1982)
    Vessel. n.d.
  • Mark Tahbo (Hopi-Tewa, 1958–2017)
    Seed Jar. 1992.
  • Martha Appleleaf (San Ildefonso, born 1950)
    Jar. n.d.
  • Nancy Youngblood (Santa Clara, born 1955)
    Vessel with Avanyu. n.d.
  • Nathan Youngblood (Santa Clara, born 1954)
    Carved Black Egg. 1998.
  • Preston Duwyenie (Hopi/Santa Clara, born 1951)
    Pregnant Pot. 2012.
  • Preston Singletary (Tlingit, born 1963)
    Frog Helper. 2015.
  • Rebecca Lucario (Acoma, born 1951)
    Seed Jar with Geometric Design. 2013.
  • Richard Zane Smith (Wyandot, born 1955)
    Vessel. 1996.
  • Robert Tenorio (Kewa (Santo Domingo), born 1950)
    Train Bowl. 2011.


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