Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Eastern (Mountain) AnasaziJemezJemez White WareJemez Black-on-white

Type Name: Jemez Black-on-white

Period: 1300 A.D. - 1750 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Eastern (Mountain) Anasazi
Tradition: Jemez
Ware: Jemez White Ware


First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

Jemez Black on-white was named in Kidder and Amsden (1931) and first described by Mera (1935). This type refers to distinct decorated white ware pottery long produced in the Jemez district (Reiter 1938). Mera (1935) saw Jemez Black-on-white as a development out of Gallina Black-on-white sometime after a similar development out Santa Fe Black-on-white was postulated. Jemez Black-on-white reflects an extremely conservative white ware tradition that continued until the mid-eighteenth century. Jemez Black-on-white is distinguished from other types decorated with organic paint produced during the late prehistoric and early historic periods by the use of distinct paste and slip clays. Changes in styles have been used to distinguish earlier Vallecito Black-on-white, which resembles Santa Fe Black-on-white and was produced in the Jemez District during the Coalition period, from later forms assigned to Jemez Black-on-white produced during the Classic and Early Historic periods (Makey 1982; Mera 1935; Reiter 1938).

Jemez Black-on-white is decorated with organic pigment which ranges from black, gray, brown, orange to red. The reddish color is particularly common in oxidized sherds, but does not appear to have resulted from iron content as was originally assumed (Mera 1935). Instead, reddish colors appear to have resulted from a distinct effect of the slip clay on the paint (Shepard 1938). Experiments by Shepard (1938) indicate that the reddish color appears to be the result of the action of alkali present in certain types of clays. The pigment also tinges the slip at the point of contact creating a slightly blurred outline (Mera 1935). The most distinct characteristic of Jemez Black-on-white is the presence of a very white, well-polished slip, over a dark paste. Pastes tend to be a gray to gray to dark gray across the profile, although low but significant frequencies display darker gray, reddish, and red and gray streaked profiles. Refired colors are closely correlated with natural colors, and sherds that are dark gray, brown, and reddish tend to fire to red colors, and those that are gray fire to lighter yellow-red and pink colors. Temper usually consisted of tuff that is often dominated by white pumice particles. Temper particles are relatively coarse as compared with those noted for most Northern Rio Grande white ware types with tuff temper. Pastes tend to be relatively hard and well fired, particularly when compare to other Classic and Historic period decorated pottery types. Almost all the Jemez Black-on-white is covered with a distinct white slip, with the great majority of bowls exhibiting polished surfaces on both sides. The great majority of jars is slipped on the exterior surface but are not polished or slipped on the interior surface. Slips tend to be relatively thick and well- polished, often resulting in a pearly, but not crackled appearance. Variation noted in slipped surfaces may reflect minor variations in what was overall a well-controlled neutral firing atmosphere that was more widespread in Southwest during earlier periods. The majority of the white wares appear to be derived from bowls although jars are present. The majority of sherds examined exhibit even walls and flat rims. A small but significant frequency of rims also exhibits similar shapes but with rounded or tapered rims.

Designs for Jemez Black-on-white are commonly arranged in simple combinations with widely spaced lines, dotted backgrounds, and dotted rims. These designs are usually organized in quadrants or in a band, leaving the bottom of the vessel undecorated, although they may sometimes cover the entire vessel. Exterior designs are frequently in black disconnected panels or geometric figures, and occasionally represent stylized life forms. Exterior design often consists of a continuous band. Painted decorations are sparsely executed with wide amounts of space between lines. Overall treatments of designs often appear more similar to those noted in contemporaneous glaze ware than biscuit ware types.

References:
Kidder, Alfred V., and Charles A. Amsden
1931 The Pottery of Pecos, Volume I, The Dull-Paint Wares. Papers of the Southwestern Expedition, No. 5, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Makey, James
1982 Vallecitos Pueblo (A Fourtheenth Century A.D. Ancestral Jemz Site), and LA 12761 (A Late Prehistoric-Early Historic Jemez Phase Farm House Site) in New Mexico. Journal of Intermountain Archaeology 1(2):80-99.

Mera, H. P.
1935 Ceramic Clues to the Prehistory of North Central New Mexico. Technical Series Bulletin No. 8, Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe.

Reiter, Paul
1938 The Jemez Pueblo of Unshagi, New Mexico, with Notes on the Earlier Excavations at Amoxiumqua and Giusewa, Monographs of the School of American Research. 6. University of New Mexico and the School of American Research, Santa Fe.

Shepard, Anna O.
1938 Appendix VI: Technological Notes on the Pottery from Unshagi. In The Jemez Pueblo of Unshagi, New Mexico, with Notes on the Earlier Excavations at Amoxiumqua and Giusewa , edited by P. Reiter, pp. 205-211. Monographs of the School of American Research. 6. University of New Mexico and the School of American Research, Santa Fe.




Related Photos

Jemez Black-on-white jar

Jemez Black-on-white bowl

Jemez Black-on-white bowl

Jemez Black-on-white bowl

Jemez Black-on-white bowl

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherds

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherds (interior surface)

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherds (exterior surface)

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherds (interior surface)

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherd (exterior surface)

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherd (interior surface)

Jemez Black-on-white bowl sherd (exterior surface)