Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande ValleyNorthern Rio GrandeGreater Tewa Basin (Northern Tewa)Northern Rio Grande Historic Plain WareTewa Red

Type Name: Tewa Red

Period: 1620 A.D. - 1930 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande Valley
Branch: Northern Rio Grande
Tradition: Greater Tewa Basin (Northern Tewa)
Ware: Northern Rio Grande Historic Plain Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

Pottery that would be described here as Tewa Red was first described by Mera (1939) as Posuge Red and also includes in part Tewa Red Ware as discussed by Harlow (1973) and Tewa Polished Red as noted by Batkin (1987). Tewa Red as defined here refers to unpainted polished forms produced during the historic period with at least one surface completely covered by a red unpainted slip (Wilson 2011).

The assignment of pottery to this type can be quite tricky, especially during sherd analysis. For example some have questions whether pottery originally illustrated as Posuge Red (Mera 1039) actually represent this type or reflect portions of vessels from Tewa Polychrome (Harlow 1973; Batkin 1987). Some sherds assigned to this group may be derived from vessels associated with a number of different ware classes including those from true Tewa Red vessels for which at least one entire surface is covered by an unpainted red slip, the upper slipped portions of red-on-tan forms, oxidized areas of black wares, unpainted portions of red-on-glaze vessels, and red slipped unpainted portions of polychrome vessels.

Examples with at least one surface that exhibited a red polished slip without evidence of other decoration were classified as Tewa Polished Red. Completely slipped examples of deep bowls and soup plates have been noted (Harlow 1973). While a few shallow bowl sherds are derived from vessels for which the entire surface was covered with a distinct red slip, such forms appear to be rare and often appear to have derived from smaller vessels. Slips are often deep to dark red to maroon and are usually well polished. Slip colors and polish appear very similar to that noted in red slipped areas of Tewa polychrome types produced during the historic period. Both surfaces are commonly slipped and polished. Surfaces that are not covered with a red slip are usually tan to buff in color. Temper usually consists of a fine tuff similar to that for other plain ware types. Similar slipped red vessels appear to have been produced from at least to the early part of the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century, and tend to be the most common pottery type at assemblages dating the eighteenth century.

Batkin, Jonathan
1987 Pottery of the Pueblos of New Mexico, 1700 to 1900. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs.

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

Wilson C. Dean
2011 Historic Indigenous Ceramic Types. In Settlers and Soldiers: The Historic Component at El Pueblo de Santa Fe (LA 1051), by S. C. Lentz and M. J. Barbour, pp 223 -234. Archaeology Notes, 438. Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Tewa Red soup bowl (interior surface)

Tewa Red soup bowl (exterior surface)

Tewa Red bowl sherds

Tewa Red jar

Tewa Red bowl

Tewa Red soup plate sherds

Tewa Red bowl sherds