MARIA(?) ANTONIO (circa 1920–?)
ACOMA JAR circa 1960
Today, the Antonio name at Acoma is almost synonymous with exquisite fineline painting. If genes mean anything, this jar foreshadows work yet to come. Here, she replicated the prehistoric Tularosa Swirl design with dead-center accuracy. If the clay were a bit grayer and coarser and the orange slip weren't there, this could pass for a thousand-year-old piece. Maria Antonio is something of a mystery. We can't find any satisfactory references to her in any of the books we have. Schaaf's encyclopedic Southern Pueblo Pottery lists a Maria Antonio active circa 1940 and Mary Antonio born circa 1920 and active circa 1930s. Our hunch is they could be the same person. The abraded signature doesn't help in sorting out Maria and Mary. After staring at it, we've decided in our wisdom that the faintly written Mar?? looks more like Maria than Mary. Whether this is by Maria, Mary or Maria/Mary, it's an excellent piece by a potter who should be better remembered. The 1960 date is best-guess on our part based on the spalling, the fact that she signed it, and the traditional firing that gives the orange slip a pleasing Hopi-like shading.
Sit this on a high shelf so you can appreciate the design.
6-1/2" diameter x 4" high
Condition very good after minor spall touchups.
Spalling was almost universal on Acoma pottery during this period.