Your Guide to Southwestern Native American Pottery
Promoting Potters: Past, Present, & Future
SAN ILDEFONSO VIRTUAL MUSEUM
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MEET THE POTTERS:
Pueblo de San Ildefonso / Po-Who-Ge-Oweenge
Where the Water Cuts Through
Pottery making at San Ildefonso was at a decline in the 1800's, when only large storage jars (ollas), and few small bowls and jars where in production for domestic household use. Around 1880, the potters started experimenting with new designs. The most famous potter, Maria Poveka Martinez (1887-1980) and her husband, Julian, perfected the Matte Black-on-Black that San Ildefonso is famous for today. Maria exhibited her art at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, promoting her pottery and culture into an international market and sparked a pottery revival. San Ildefonso Governor, Leon T. Roybal has been quoted saying, "Maria was unique because she was the bridge with the outside world. She was the pioneer for marketing pottery beyond our own people, and, in this way, she created an economy for pottery and the arts. We owe so much to her today. Artists now make a living because of their artistic skills, instead of struggling financially. And our artistic traditions have endured and become stronger for future generations." Many of Maria and Julian's relatives have become accomplished potters. Some use the same techniques and styles while others are reviving polychrome pottery, with few boldly experimenting with new designs.
The sites of Tyuonyi, Tsankawi, Navawi, and Otowi, all ruins within or near Bandelier National Monument were home to the ancestors of the San Ildefonso People. Drought and other factors caused a migratiion to the present day location of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso in the late 1500s or early 1600s. "Where the water cuts through" refers to the settlement along the banks of the Rio Grande River, were water was plentiful.
Black Mesa, a visible landmark from the pueblo, also holds a sacred connection to the people of San Ildefonso for it is a location of historical relevance. In 1692, during the Spanish Reconquest, the people left their village, fought from Black Mesa, and never surrendered.
"Santana of San Ildefonso Pueblo near Santa Fe and Taos, new Mexico. With a display of beautiful Black Pottery Unique with San Ildefonso Pueblo."
This page last revised: 08/24/2012
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