(San Ildefonso Pueblo, about 1887–1980)
Overall: 28.5 x 34 cm (11 1/4 x 13 3/8 in.)
Anonymous Gift 1986.1131
Maria Martinez of New Mexico’s San Ildefonso Pueblo may be the most famous of all Native American artists.
Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo, perhaps the most famous of all Indigenous artists, was crucial to transforming modern Native American ceramics from utilitarian wares into fine decorative arts. She developed her mastery while young, learning traditional techniques from other Pueblo women. The style for which she is known—lustrous black wares venerated within and outside of Indigenous communities—grew in part from study of ceramic fragments at ancient, Ancestral Pueblo sites. This large, beautifully proportioned water jar is one of her earliest efforts in the style, its dark color imparted by the firing technique.
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