view single item

Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

IMPORTANT: Images displayed via this interface may NOT be reproduced without the express permission of the artist or the artist's representative. Please contact the Johnson Museum with any questions regarding image rights and reproduction.

Culture: Zia Pueblo, New Mexico
Title: Water jar with bird decoration
Date: 1800-1850
Medium: Slip-painted ceramic
Dimensions: 10 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (27.3 x 31.8 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Eugene P. Andrews
Object Number: 77.050.004
Label Text: BRIEF DESCRIPTION
This large ceramic jar from Zia Pueblo, New Mexico, features a bird design.

WHERE WAS IT MADE?
Zía Pueblo (Tsi’ya in the eastern Keres language) is located north of the Jemez River and west of the modern city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

HOW WAS IT MADE?
Zia jars are made using the coil method--the walls of the jar are successively built up with long coils of clay.

Red and black designs are painted over a tan background. The background and the painted designs are all made from slip, which is a mixture of clay and water. Different colors of clay are gathered to make different colors of slip.

HOW WAS IT USED?
This large jar or “olla” may be a storage jar or a water jar.

WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?
Famous for large storage jars and huge dough bowls, Zia pottery is distinct from its neighboring pueblos because it is made with clay that fires to a rich red tone and comes in a variety of styles including polychrome on a white slip ground and polychrome on orange. Favorite designs at Zia include an undulating rainbow band, large birds (commonly roadrunners) like the one on this jar, and abstracted floral designs.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.