Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziSouthern CibolaZuni Historic Matte Paint WareZuni Polychrome

Type Name: Zuni Polychrome

Period: 1850 A.D. - 1920 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Central Anasazi
Tradition: Southern Cibola
Ware: Zuni Historic Matte Paint Ware


First posted by Dean Wilson

One the earliest descriptions of discussions of Zuni pottery being produced at Zuni Pueblo from turn of the late nineteenth to early twentieth was by Bunzel (1929). Chapman (1938) also defined Zuni Polychrome based on vessels collected by the Pueblo Arts Funds. This type refers to decorated pottery that was produced at Zuni Pueblo for both local use and for the Tourist market during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. At about A.D. 1850, there was shift from the relatively conservative styles associated with Kiapkwa Polychrome to the exuberant combinations of designs characteristic of Zuni Polychrome (Frank and Harlow 1990; Harlow 1973; Lammon and Harlow 1990). This type is commonly characterized by the high quality of execution. After 1900 the quality of pottery produced at Zuni Pueblo seems to have gradually declined. Pastes are gray with chunky sherd temper with rust colored inclusions.

Decorated areas are executed over a white sometimes slip surface that covers most of the surface. Exceptions include the very top of the rim and bottom of the vessel that are covered by a brown pigment which appears to represent mineral pigment. The use of a brown pigment rather than the red slip used during earlier periods distinguished Zuni Polychrome from early polychrome types produced at Zuni Pueblo. The very wide decorated areas on jar exteriors are framed by one two lines in similar pigment from the rim to just above the base. Design elements are sometimes separated by vertical lines to form connected panels. Unpaneled examples are usually represented by wide and bold repeated designs. During the period associated with Zuni Polychrome, a small group of motifs appear to have been copied repeatedly with little change. Earlier employed geometric motifs to create intricate designs of heart-line deer, large geometric rosettes, many variations of rain birds, and winged volutes. Most of the decorations were in back pigment with the subtle use of filling and smaller areas decorated in red resulting in total affect that conveys balance, beauty, and excellence of line work (Lammon and Harlow 2008). Zuni polychrome bowls often express a similar excellence. A simple band usually occurs just below the rim. Below this is a wide encircling band or pair of bands with barred line breaks. Within this and usually covering the entire middle surface is the principal design of the bowl usually represents a variation of forms used on jar bodies.

References:
Chapman, Kenneth
1938 The Pueblo Indian Pottery of the Post Spanish Period. General Series Bulletin No. 4, Laboratory of Anthropology of Anthropology, Santa Fe.

Frank, Larry and Francis H. Harlow
1990 Historic Pottery of the Pueblo Indians 1600-1880. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., West Chester.

Harlow, Francis H.
1973 Matte Paint Pottery of the Tewa, Keres, and Zuni Pueblos. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Lammon, Dwight P. and Francis H. Harlow
2008 The Pottery of Zuni Pueblo. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.




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