Zuni Pueblo Indian Pottery

Published on March 20, 2015 by Amy

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Zuni Pueblo Indian Pottery
Zuni Pueblo Indian Pottery

The Zuni Pueblo is the largest pueblo, located in western-central New Mexico. Although even more famed for their fine Indian jewelry, the Zuni Pueblo does have a distinguished pottery style as well, one that reflects the importance of water to the life of the Pueblo.

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The Characteristic Look of Zuni Pueblo Pottery
Zuni Pueblo pottery is made of clay that uses crushed pottery shards or rock to temper it, which gives unfinished pottery a white color, almost like that of ceramic clays. However, most Zuni pottery is coated with a white or colored (usually red) slip and painted with black and red paints.

Zuni Pueblo pottery artists have a unique style and common designs that make their art easy to distinguish from other Pueblos’. Zuni pottery artists create more open pieces—bowls and pottery baskets, many of them with rims shaped by the painted or relief animal designs.

Zuni Pueblo pottery is known for its lizard pots, but Zuni pottery also uses other common animal images, including:

  • The “heartline” deer (also known as “deer-in-the-house”), an open-mouthed deer with an arrow extending from the mouth to the inside of the deer
  • Frog and tadpole, both symbols for rain
  • Dragonfly, summoner of the clouds
  • Zuni Pueblo artists also create very extravagant geometric designs, many of which incorporate zigzag lines, representative of flowing water.

    Renowned Zuni Pueblo Pottery Artists
    Zuni Pueblo pottery was revived in the 1920s by Daisy Hooee, granddaughter of famed Hopi Indian artist Nampeyo. In the decades that followed, Zuni Pueblo pottery has flourished, and Zuni pottery artists have received distinction for their work.

    Anderson Peynetsa is one such Zuni Pueblo pottery artist. Peynetsa’s work displays the range of characteristic styles and designs of Zuni pottery art from the black-on-red slip and painting to the traditional heartline deer and stylized lizard motifs.

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