Classic Historic Pueblo Pottery
For over 1,500 years, the pueblo groups of New Mexico and Arizona have been making pottery for a variety of purposes including water and food storage, cooking, and even bread making. Pottery was also made for sale and has become synonymous with the Pueblo groups. In fact, the term "Pueblo Indian" did not apply to these groups until they began producing pottery in pre-historic times.
There are nineteen pueblos in New Mexico and one in Arizona. Each of these groups use distinct clays, tempers, slips and designs to produce their wares. All pueblos began producing pottery in Pre-historic times; however, not all groups do so today. A few of the more famous pueblos are Acoma; known for their thin walls and fine line geometric painting, Cochiti; for their large jars with bold motifs, Zuni; for their water jars decorated with rosettes and heart line deer imagery, and Santa Clara and San Ildefonso; known for their carved or painted Blackware vessels.
Although pottery forms and decoration have changed over the millennia, the traditional techniques and materials are still used by pueblo potters working today. Many contemporary potters have developed individual styles that maintain a connection to the traditions passed down from previous generations of their families.