SAN ILDEFONSO POLYCHROME JAR circa 1895
To us, this is a unique piece, and not just for the goofy birds running about the midbody. What sets it apart is that a skiilled, mature Pueblo artist had the confidence to paint loosely and freely, making no effort to create the precision the "better" artists of the day demanded. We've seen a hint of that looseness on a piece attributed to Dolorita Vigil and suggestion of it on pieces that simply appear to have been made by less talented painters. This combination of skill and abandon has started us looking around. We'd love to put a maker's name on this.
This is the stone-polished ware that people who care about these fine-tuning distinctions call San Ildefonso Polychrome, which distinguishes it from the later, rag-polished Tunyo Polychrome. According to the books, Maria's aunt Martina Vigil brought a new slip from Cochiti around 1900 and began making the rag-polished ware that dominated San Ildefonso pottery for the next fifteen or twenty years. The experts put a cutoff date of 1900 for this stone-polished ware which they'd made at San Ildefonso through the last half of the nineteentH century. If it doesn't seem as polished as you'd expect, the artist painted it over the polish with matte paint over the polish, the custom of the time.
The birds running across the bottom of the page are as they run around the pot. The early one gets the worm.
6-1/2" diameter x 5-3/4" high
Condition quite good for its age,
no evident repair, old 1/2" chip