TYPE: San Bernardo Polychrome

DATE: A.D. 1625 to 1740 (Wade and McChesney, 1981;44)

BOWL DESIGN PLACEMENT: Primary interior designs, secondary exterior designs common, occassionally reversed.

COMMON DESIGNS: Designs are like prehistoric Sityatki Polychrome although later examples often have cruder or larger designs. Rims are often painted red, some examples often do not have painted rims, like earlier Sikyatki Polychrome in the Jeddito Wares section of this guide.

TEMPER: San Bernardo Polychrome appears not to have any temper added, even under high magnification. Wade and McChesney state: "However, ethnographic accounts of ancient manufacturing techniques collected by Thomas Keam in the 1880s and 1890s suggest that Sikyatki and San Bernardo Polychromes may, in fact, be tempered (Stephen n.d., quoted in Wade and McChesney 1980, pg 96). Nineteeth-century informants indicated that potters low-fired plaques of white clay, then ground them to the consistency of flour. This was added to the unfired white clay paste used to form a vessel.  Temper this fine would be hard to detect visually, would produce a stronger pot through its high-quality distribution within the vessel, and would still allow for a smoother polishing and painting surface than either conventional sand or sherd tempering." (Wade and McChesney, 1981;20). Occasionally some San Bernardo Polychrome may have large rounded quartz grains visible on the surface and throughout the paste, the same can be said for large red angular fragments, although vessels that show visible temper are somewhat rare.


KEY DIFFERENCES: Rims are often painted red, designs become cruder or larger than earlier (pre-historic) Sityatki Polychrome which usually have unpainted rims or occassionally painted rims. San Bernardo Polychrome often has 2 to 4 equally spaced sets of black "ticks" or short lines on the interior of the rim.

SLIP OR SURFACE TREATMENT: No slip, usually highly polished.




1Y San Bernardo Polychrome

bowl with a star and possibly millipedes(?) painted in the bottom.

Approximate Dimensions: 7 3/4" or 19.7cm by 2 3/4" or 7cm


2N San Bernardo Polychrome ring-based cup.



3Y Early San Bernardo Polychrome Olla, likely dating about 1625 to 1650. The "Spaceship" form is early. This olla does not have a red rim, however if you look closely at the design you will see a red ring about in the middle. This is possibly a "firing transfer" of paint when a San Bernardo Polychrome bowl (with a red rim) was placed over the top of the olla before firing. When it fired some of the paint transferred from the bowl rim to the olla. You can see a nice example of this under Jeddito Black-on-Orange Mugs. You will also notice that the design is darker below the red ring due to the bowl covering the top half of the design during firing.

Approximate Dimensions: 13 3/4" by 7"




4Y San Bernardo Polychrome Stirrup Canteen with painted polywogs.

Approximate Dimensions: 4 1/2 by 3 1/2"



5Y Early San Bernardo Polychrome Bowl, "pinch pot"

made by a child or beginner potter, not polished.

Approximate Dimensions: 5 1/2 by 1 3/4"


This page last revised: 05/09/2011

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