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

Type Name: Ashiwi Polychrome

Period: 1700 A.D. - 1770 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Central Anasazi
Tradition: Southern Cibola
Ware: Zuni Historic Matte Paint Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2014

Ashiwi Polychrome was first defined by Mera (1939). This type refers to polychrome forms produced by western Pueblo groups (particularly the Zuni) in New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt. Ashiwi Polychrome appears to have replaced earlier glaze painted types, possibly because of the images were too closely associated with the Spanish (Mills 2007). By the time of the Zuni consolidation into a single village in the 1690s, matte painted forms exhibiting characteristics used to define Ashiwi Polychrome was being made.

This type exhibits characteristics similar to contemporaneous types in Acoma such as Ako Polychrome, but vessels can often be distinguished by vessel shape (Harlow 1973). Ashiwi Polychrome jars tend to be relatively squat, with the middle body strongly differentiated from lower and upper vessel portions (Harlow 1973). Jars display a distinct concave base which is covered with undecorated red slip. As is the case for earlier pottery forms produced at Zuni, this type is characterized by the use of sherd temper and low iron pastes and designs executed in black and red paint. Designs are similar to those noted for the Puname style of Middle Rio Grande, but are characterized by small and precise geometric elements, including triangles, step triangles and squares in contrasting dark red and black mineral designs. Elements of alternating colors are often combined to produce bird, animal, stair step, and most commonly feather motifs, with most if not all of these designs commonly appearing on the same vessel. The overall effect is often spectacular, and vessels decorated with the Ashiwi style are represented among the finest examples of Pueblo pottery ever produced (Lammon and Harlow 2005).

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

Harlow, Francis H. and Dwight P. Lammon
2003 The Pottery of Zia Pueblo. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe.

Mera, H. P.
1939 Style Trends of Pueblo Pottery in the Rio Grande and Little Colorado Cultural Areas from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century. Laboratory of Anthropology Memoris 3, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Ashiwi Polychrome jar sherds

Ashiwi Polychrome bowl sherd (interior surface)

Ashiwi Polychrome bowl sherd (exterior surface)

Ashiwi Polychrome bowl sherd (interior surface)

Ashiwi Polychrome bowl sherds (interior surface)

Ashiwi Polychrome bowl sherds (exterior surface)