Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande ValleySouthern Rio GrandeMiddle Rio GrandePuname District Polychrome WareSanta Ana Polychrome

Type Name: Santa Ana Polychrome

Period: 1830 A.D. - 1930 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande Valley
Branch: Southern Rio Grande
Tradition: Middle Rio Grande
Ware: Puname District Polychrome Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2014

Santa Ana Polychrome was described and illustrated by Chapman (1938). For pottery produced in the first half of the eighteenth century, it is not possible to differentiate pottery made at Zia from Santa Pueblo (Harlow and others 2005). In the 1700s, the historic pueblo of Santa Ana (Tamaya) moved from a location along the Jemez River near Zia to farming lands along the Rio Grande (Batkin 1987). At this time, Santa Ana potters switched from using crushed basalt temper to river sand temper from the Rio Grande alluvial plain. Santa Ana pottery typically contains abundant sand temper in pastes ranging in color from beige to orange or gray, and vessels are decorated with black and red mineral-painted designs (Harlow 1973). In general, surfaces are not well-polished, and the white slip appears as pinkish-white, white, or cream, and is crackled or flaked off the surface. The red slip is thick and smooth. The black mineral paint fires true black, but is light on some sherds and dense black on others. The red mineral paint fires reddish-brown and consistently flakes off the surface, obscuring the shapes of design elements. Vessels assigned to early examples of this type are dominated by jars with large globular bodies and short necks with a gradual and narrowing slope, although bowls do occur.

Earlier forms of Santa Ana Polychrome, as described here, are commonly assigned to a Group A style indicative of production from 1830 to 1930 (Harlow and Others 2005). This was widely traded type, and commonly occurs in the nineteenth century Hispanic types in the Albuquerque area. This style consists of wide and bold bands that cover large portions of the globular base. The characteristic design, sometimes referred to as, but not influenced by, the “Eiffel Tower”, (Harlow 1973; Harlow and others 2005) consists of bold two-sided step triangles with open areas near the center of the wide portion. These are usually filled with red and outlined with narrow black lines and sometimes with designs in negative open spaces near the center. Another common motif, often occurring with the "Eiffel Tower" design are straight or thick straight or curving red ribbons also outlined with black lines and commonly exhibiting negative designs near the surface. Both types of designs are large and connected together creating designs are both bold and intricate create large and flowing designs in both red slipped areas and unpainted negative space. Sherds can often be assigned by the presence of large and open areas of either red slipped or unpainted white space bordered by thin black lines. Necks are commonly decorated with bands of a single line of repeating line of curvilinear triangles, decorated in black and red pigment that is separated by the design on the body by one or two thin black lines. The neck area is further framed by one or two lines on or just below the rim. Similar black lines are located along the broad red slipped lines that separate the short undecorated reddish areas along the base.

Group B designs reflect variations in styles of vessels occasional produced from 1880 to 1930 (Harlow and others 2005). While they share characteristics of forms described for Group A the “ a broader range of contrasting designs more common in contemporaneous forms produced at other Pueblos. These include the presence of large and elements occur including large cross-hatched areas, checkerboards, lobbed ended triangles, dashed and spiraled embellishments and the late use of bird and floral.

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.

Harlow, Francis H, Duane Anderson, and Dwight P. Lammon
2005 The Pottery of Santa Ana Pueblo. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Santa Ana Polychrome bowl

Santa Ana Polychrome jar

Santa Ana Polychrome jar

Santa Ana Polychrome jar

Santa Ana Polychrome sherds