Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande ValleyNorthern Rio GrandeGreater Tewa Basin (Northern Tewa)Northern Rio Grande Historic Bichrome - Polychrome WareTesuque Polychrome

Type Name: Tesuque Polychrome

Period: 1870 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 Bichrome - Polychrome Ware

Posted by C. Dean Wilson 2014

Tesuque Polychrome was defined by Chapman (1938). This type represents one of several distinct forms produced in different Northern Tewa Pueblo villages that developed out of Powhoge Polychrome sometime during the late nineteenth century to meet demands of the rapidly growing Tourist market.

Specific characteristics associated with this type appear to have already been well developed when Stevenson (1883) made his large collections from Tesuque and other Pueblos in 1879. Harlow (1973) states that typical Tesuque Polychrome can be distinguished from Powhoge Polychrome by a softer paste, thicker walls, and absence of a gray core. Decorated areas are well polished. Until the late 1800s all decorated pottery produced at Tesuque Pueblo were decorated with a red slip in a manner indicative of Powhoge Polychrome. By the late 1880s, black paint was commonly used to create decorated lines along the rim (Batkin 1987). Design styles characteristics of Tesuque Polychrome include flowered meanders, stalked flowers, trident figures, pods, and a variety of wavy lines and arcs. Tesuque Polychrome was made until the early 1900s, and was replaced by vessels decorated with glossy white slips and poster paints in blue, red, and yellow colors that were painted after firings and curios in non-traditional effigy forms referred to as "rain gods" (Toulouse 1977).

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

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

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

Stevenson, James
1883 Illustrated Catalog of the Collections Obtained from the Indians of New Mexico and Arizona in 1879, pp 307-422, In Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Smithsonian Institution,1880-1881, Washingtion D. C..

Toulouse, Betty
1977 Pueblo Pottery of the New Mexico Indians; Ever Constant Ever Changing.. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.

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Tesuque Polychrome jar