Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande ValleySouthern Rio GrandeMiddle Rio GrandeMiddle Rio Grande Utility WareIsleta Red-on-tan

Type Name: Isleta Red-on-tan

Period: 1740 A.D. - 1950 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande Valley
Branch: Southern Rio Grande
Tradition: Middle Rio Grande
Ware: Middle Rio Grande Utility Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

Isleta Red-on-tan refers to partially slipped pottery forms known to have been historically produced by potters at Isleta Pueblo (Batkin 1987; Ellis 1979; 1983; Franklin 1997; McKenna 2007; Wilson 2001). This type is largely limited to bowls and soup plates although jars are also represented (Ellis 1983). This represents one of the few pottery forms known to have been produced at Isleta Pueblo during most of the 19th century (Batkin 1987). Descriptions of Isleta Red-on-tan indicate strong similarities to San Juan Red-on-tan produced in areas to the north (Batkin 1987). Another, pottery form that is similar to Isleta Red-on-tan is Casitas Red-on-brown which is described as having been produced by Hispanic potters over a very wide area (Dick 1968). Different historic red-on-tan or brown or tan types seem to represent minor areal variations of a wide spread technology, which commonly cut across ethnicity. Vessels assigned to this type appear to have been produced from as early as the time of the reestablishment of Isleta Pueblo at about A.D. 1740 to as late as 1950s (Batkin 1987; McKenna 2007).

Pottery assigned to this Isleta Red-on-tan tends to be tempered with fine tuff or fine sand. The paste and surfaces of Isleta Red-on-tan are usually tan, olive, brown, or buff. Surface color is sometimes variable with combinations of tan and reddish patches sometimes visible. Small fire clouds or small sooted areas are also relatively common. Surface and paste characteristics indicate firing in oxidizing atmospheres. Sooting or fire clouds are sometimes present, and are most common on exterior surfaces. Vessel profiles are commonly pink to tan on the outside and very dark with gray cores. The upper vessel interiors and exteriors are often covered with high iron slip clays, that may range from bright red, dark red, to purple. The red slip is often on both surfaces where it forms a narrow band a narrow band, usually about 2 to 5 cm. A few examples exhibit line designs in the slip. Polishing marks on slips are streaky and oriented horizontally to the rim. Portions of surfaces that are not slipped tend to be a tan to light brown and fairly consistent in color. Surfaces tend to be polished. Vessels appear to be well fired and hard. The majority of sherds assigned to this type appear to have derived from bowls or soup plates.

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

Dick, Herbert W.
1968 Six Historic Pottery Types from Spanish Sites in New Mexico. In Collected Papers in Honor of Lyndon L. Hargrave, edited by A.H. Schroeder, pp. 77-94. Papers of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico No.1. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.

Ellis, Florence H., and J.J. Brody
1979 Isleta Pueblo. In Handbook of North American Indicans, Vol 9: Southwest, edited by A. A. Ortiz, pp. 351-365. Smithsonian Insttiturion, Washington D.C.

1983 Historic Rio Grande Pottery and Potters. In Collected Papers in Honor of Charlie Steen Junior, edited by N.J. Fox, pp. 224-249. Papers of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico 8, Albuquerque Archaeological Society Press, Albuquerque.

Franklin, Hayward
1997 Valencia Pueblo Ceramics. In Excavations at Valencia Pueblo (LA 953) and a Nearby Hispanic Settlement (LA 67321), Valencia County, New Mexico. edited by K.L. Brown and B.J. Vierra, pp 125-257. Office of Contract Archaeology Report No. 185-400F, Albuquerque.

McKenna Peter J.
2007 Observation on Isleta Red-on-tan. Pottery Southwest 26 (1):2-13.

Wilson, C. Dean
2001 Ceramics. In Valencia: A Spanish Colonial and Mexican Period Site Along NM 47 in Valencia County, New Mexico, by N.J. Akins, Office of Archaeological Studies Archaeology Notes 267, pp 37-60. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Isleta Red-on-tan sherds

Isleta Red-on-tan soup plate sherds