(San Ildefonso Pueblo, c. 1887–1980)
Overall: 7.1 x 9.6 cm (2 13/16 x 3 3/4 in.)
Gift of Frances and David Dickenson in memory of Sarah Dickenson and Jeffrey Cudlip 2003.350
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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