ZUNI POLYCHROME OLLA circa 1890
Every so often, we see a piece that calls to us across the room. We found this major olla breathtaking, and we've spent some time learning what it has to teach us. It started out as a great pot by a great potter, and through all its years of hard use at the Pueblo, it maintained its dignity. It impressed us so much we had to do a Photoshop restoration on its neck just to see what it once looked like. We found the missing neck designs on another important Zuni jar. This resoration is something some future owner might choose to do on the actual piece, but we never would. We love it as it is with all its history.
Experts who've seen it have no doubt that it's Zuni and no quibble with our date. At the outset, we wondered a bit about the Zuni. Things about us made us think of Acoma: thw white kaolin clay, the vivid orange that we're not used to seeing on Zuni pieces, the dead black paint, the white underbody, the large areas of undecorated white and the thin, light weight. Even the unusual concentric volute in the main design contributed to our doubt level. On the other hand, one highly regarded authority on both Pueblos said, "I've never seen that design (or anything close to it) at Acoma, but it's relatively common at Zuni." We took it to San ta Fe, and the consensus was unanimous: clay, temper and design, Zuni all the way. We featured this on page 20 of the Second Edition of our Southwestern Pottery, Anasazi to Zuni as a glorious example in our discussion on condition.
13-1/2" diameter x 8-1/2" at its highest remaining point
Condition obvious at a glance. It's never been broken, but it's had a hard life
How this once looked