This is a superb 19th century storage from Cochiti pueblo. It is 12″ tall and 16″ in diameter and I simply love it.
It is large and simple, naive feeling as if not made at all for anyone outside the family to look at. It is at its widest at the midbody, built full and strong with thick heavy walls for home use. Large robust and early, pueblo storage jars (or dough bowls) like this, simply pre-date the intrusive influence of the outside art world; so they feel more intimate; more from a simpler earlier world; because they are.
A very large part of its great appeal is the very minimal design. So while the form is robust, the decorations are light and airy with large fields of barely painted Cochiti white slip, soapy and lovely. We can’t know the intention of the potter, but the resulting feel of this pot is one of New Mexico sun, spaciousness and clarity. It’s good to remember that the wonderful artist who made this jar was trained only by perhaps her mother or grandmother or aunt. Her likely goal: to make something beautiful and useful for her family and do so with techniques and designs handed down through the generations.
The neck is decorated with what are likely soft abstracted cloud forms which, to me, is the design feature which gives this wonderful jar its soft almost maternal appeal. The midbody has single star or flower elements separted by adjoined triangles. Design fields are set off by double framing lines. The rim flares slightly and there is a wide red band at the top of the underbody.
It’s hard for me to communicate just how wonderful this jar is. I try to do so with written description and my dear friend Addison Doty’s photographs which are warm and masterful; like this storage jar. However, this is just one of those jars you just have to see to fully appreciate. It is majestic with a big warm presence. Whoever ultimately acquires this jar may well be the lucky collector who has found the heart center, the anchor of their historic pueblo pottery collection.
Condition is excellent.