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Four historic San Juan Pueblo, NM pottery vessels,

a red-on-tan scalloped rim bowl, a black-on-grey upright jar, a red-on-tan square-mouthed bowl and a small black-on-grey upright jar, c. 1890-1910



The San Juan Pueblo in northern New Mexico, known today as “Ohkay-Owingeh” or “Place of the strong people” in its traditional Tewa Indian language has historically produced some of the most beautiful and traditionally  crafted pottery in the historic Pueblo pottery world. San Juan is one of the oldest existing Pueblos in the Rio Grande Valley, begun around 1200 A.D. by migrating refugees of the Mesa Verde culture moving southwards down along the Chama River drainage from what is now present-day southern Colorado. 


The Pueblo of San Juan de Los Caballeros has long played a pivotal role in the history of New Mexico and the greater Southwest region. It was here in 1598 that the Spanish conquistador and colonizer, Juan de Onate arrived from Mexico at the head of his large army of Spanish soldiers and settlers. Onate gave the Pueblo its Spanish name after his patron Saint, Juan Bautista and declared there the first Spanish Colonial capital in the territory of New Spain, “Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico” or “The Holy Faith of New Mexico”. And to that end, they built the very first Catholic church in New Mexico in the Pueblo village. Years later, in 1680, after suffering nearly a century of oppression and persecution at the hands of the Spanish, it was also here that, perhaps fittingly in a historic irony, that San Juan Pueblo religious leader Pope secretly planned, co-ordinated and put into motion the historic Great Pueblo Revolt that drove the now-hated Spanish entirely out of the region for the next twelve years.


San Juan Pueblo has long been renowned in the Southwest for the quality and unique beauty of its distinctive historic pottery. Unpainted, plainware pottery, defined entirely by its wonderful shapes, sizes and forms and by its distinctive clay and slip colors and its two distinct but completely related remarkable color patterns; the red-on-tan and the black-on-grey. Historically, most San Juan pottery was generally made for home usage in the local village though it has always been a valuable utilitarian staple in many other local households of Northern New Mexico, whether Pueblo Indian, Hispanic or Anglo, highly-valued for its beauty, utility and durability.


As such, it was an important and significant trade good in frontier New Mexico prior to its later becoming even more highly appreciated and prized as artwork which in the world of today it is held in even higher esteem. Its classic, disciplined, understated, elegant beauty is appreciated by both traditionalists and Modernists alike. The only decorative touches on traditional historic San Juan pottery other than its unique red and black colors are the omnipresent distinctive and plentiful dark-grey to black firing clouds. Due to their quantity and beautiful artistic placement on almost all San Juan pottery vessels it has long been theorized by various Pueblo pottery scholars and aficionados that these might have been deliberately arranged and orchestrated by the various San Juan potters though that theory has yet to be definitively proven.


What does not ever need to be proven further however is the enduring and historic aesthetic beauty

and cultural integrity of traditional San Juan Pueblo pottery.

Red-on-tan scalloped-rim bowl


This beautiful, slightly scalloped rim bowl measures 7 3/4” in diameter and is 4” in height. It is in excellent original condition with only a small amount of age-appropriate abrasion wear to the interior. There are no cracks or significant chips and thorough examination under ultraviolet light reveals no evidence of restoration or overpainting. The bowl has beautiful dark greyish-black fire clouds around the lower body and base.


To view another, considerably larger San Juan Pueblo red-on-tan pottery bowl

available on our website, please click here.



Price $825


Inquire                                                            Purchase

Red-on-tan square-mouthed bowl


This beautiful, small bowl has an unusually-shaped square-mouthed opening with formed protruding knobs at each of the corners. The bowl measures 4 3/4” in diameter and is 3” in height. The square mouth opening is 3”

by 3”. It is in excellent original condition with only a small amount of age-appropriate abrasion wear to the interior. There are no cracks or significant chips and thorough examination under ultraviolet light reveals no evidence of restoration or overpainting. 


To view another, considerably larger San Juan Pueblo red-on-tan pottery bowl

available on our website, please click here.



Price $225


Inquire                                                    Purchase

Black-on-grey small upright jar


This lovely diminutive upright jar is a superb sculptural object with a beautiful tapering elongated shape

and a graceful profile and slightly outward flaring rim. It measures 4 1/2” in height and is 2 3/4” in diameter at its widest point. It is in excellent original condition with no cracks or chips and thorough examination under ultraviolet light reveals no evidence of restoration or overpainting.



Price $275


Inquire                                                    Purchase

Black-on-grey vertical jar


This finely-shaped medium-sized vertical jar is beautifully formed with a gracefully curving profile. It measures 7” in height and is 7” in diameter at its widest shoulder point. It is in excellent original condition with no cracks or chips and thorough examination under ultraviolet light reveals no evidence of restoration or overpainting. There is some age-appropriate abrasion here and there on the jar. The jar has a very interesting feature that we have not ever seen before on a San Juan Pueblo pottery piece. There is a post firing application of a series of black painted Pueblo designs around the shoulder, two vertically stacked terraced designs and two sets of stylized bird designs. A very subtle and very beautiful touch.



Price $900


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The San Juan Pueblo Pottery “Revival”, 1930-Present


Traditional black-slipped and red-slipped San Juan Pueblo pottery such as the historic pieces featured here had pretty much stopped being made entirely

by 1915 as most of the old potters had died and the art was essentially lost. In 1930, a group of San Juan Pueblo women led by Regina Cata and with the encouragement of the director of  The Santa Fe Indian School undertook a research project to revive the art of pottery-making at San Juan by introducing a new style based in part upon the Pueblo’s ancient history. After much study, a San Juan pottery revival was begun based upon an updated interpretation of an ancient prehistoric pottery type of this local area known as Potsuwi‘i Incised Ware (1450-1500 A.D.). This “Revival” style of pottery continues to be

made until this day. The jar pictured here was made by Tomasita Montoya, c. 1950’s, one of the original group of San Juan “Revival” pottery-makers.


Photo source and © King Galleries, Santa Fe, NM

San Juan Pueblo village scene by Edward S. Curtis, 1927. The bowl in the lower right foreground of this photo could be the red-on-tan scalloped rim bowl featured here.

Present-day map of New Mexico Pueblos


-Photo source and © U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Washington, D.C.