Antique Asian Works of Art from Ancient East

Acoma Black on White Geometric Seed Pot, Signed Viola Ortiz

browse these categories for related items...
Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Americas: American Indian: Pottery: Pre 1980: Item # 1301996

Please refer to our stock # W-PT11 when inquiring.
Ancient East
View Seller Profile
369 Montezuma Ave., #562
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2626

Guest Book

DESCRIPTION: Some of the most spectacular Acoma pottery pieces are the geometric designs rendered in black on white. This thin-walled seed pot falls into that category with exceptionally fine lines forming small rectangular patterns containing dots, slashes and solid painted corners. The Acoma potter, Viola Ortiz, has masterfully executed a complicated design that requires absolute concentration and precision to apply - and that being done with a paint brush fashioned from the leaf of a yucca plant. Tailored to fit the shape of the vessel, her design elements are largest at mid body and decrease in size as the design progresses upward to the rim and downward to the base. It is this willingness to apply difficult designs that distinguish the best Acoma painters. Excellent condition; dating from the last quarter of the 20th C. DIMENSIONS: 5.25" high (13.4 cm) x 7" diameter (17.8 cm). Please see the last photo for a comparison of size with other Acoma pieces in our gallery. This piece is on the far left.

ABOUT ACOMA POTTERY: Thin, hand fired walls (a common and sought after characteristic of Acoma pottery), light weight, and geometric designs characterize Acoma pottery. The Acoma Pueblo, also known as "Sky City," is located 50 miles west of Albuquerque near Enchanted Mesa, and is one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America. The area is home to particularly good clay, which potters mix with a temper of crushed potsherds. This results in the ability to produce very thin and lightweight, yet strong pottery. Traditional designs range from complex geometrics to abstract animal, floral and figurative forms. Coloration consists predominantly of black and white, or black, white and orange although other colors also appear infrequently. Acoma clay is grey in color and potters achieve their white surface with a slip of kaolin, a naturally occurring chalky material that is a brilliant white. Black is made from crushed iron-rich hematite and/or the liquid from boiled wild spinach, which are often mixed together. There are no schools or universities that teach the complex techniques and skills necessary to make Native American Acoma Pottery. It takes many years to learn, requires much dedication and sacrifice, and is a skill passed down by the elders from generation to generation.