TYPE: Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown

DATE: A.D. 1125 – 1450 (Wallace 1995;465) (see comments)

Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown is the main bichrome decorated type produced during the Tanque Verde Phase of the Classic Period.  Other common bichrome types and/or varieties that fit the descriptions below are: Tanque Verde Red-on-White, Tanque Verde Red-on-Black, Tanque Verde Black-on-Brown, and Tanque Verde Black-on-White.

COMMON FORMS: Most large jars have the “classic shoulder” with short to tall straight necks, (the “classic shoulder” may be absent on smaller jars). The exaggerated flare-rim or helmet bowl is no longer being produced. Some Tanque Verde bowls have slightly flared rims. Small to large shallow, or platter-bowls. Regular shaped, as well as, deep bowls with slightly incurved rims. Most Tanque Verde bowls have “indented” bottoms (external view) that often looks like a circular “raised spot” when looking at the interior. The indented bottom is believed to be a diagnostic trait of Tanque Verde Phase bowls, and relatively rarely is this feature not present. Jars occasionally have indented bottoms. Many jars are approximately as tall as they are wide.

COMMON BACKGROUND COLORS: Primary design backgrounds are brown (natural), Secondary design backgrounds may be brown (natural), white (slipped), or black (smudged). Brown can be light Tan to Brown to Orange. White can be a transparent Buff to a thick White. Black can be light Gray to Black often with “patches” of Brown.

COMMON DESIGN PLACEMENT: Approximately 95% of all rims painted. Primary designs are usually on the exteriors of deep bowls, (often greater than ¼ of a sphere) and usually have a smaller lesser design near or to the rim on the interior. The primary designs usually have a lower framing line at the bottom, and normally does not have one at the top (the design usually goes to the rim). The secondary designs may or may not have a lower framing line, and usually does not have one at the top. Most shallow bowls (often less than ¼ of a sphere) usually have primary designs on the interiors. The exteriors of these shallow bowls sometimes have a secondary lesser design near or to the rim. On rare occasion, bowls are found with full interior and exterior primary designs. Jars usually have a primary design within framing lines from the shoulder to just below or at the bottom of the neck, and often with a secondary design on the neck near or to the rim. Sometimes the secondary (neck) design has a lower framing line and usually does not have one at the top. The rim line may act as the upper framing line for bowls and jars but usually is painted on the top and cannot be seen from a level side view.

COMMON DESIGNS: Angular scrolls occur on roughly 3/4 of all Tanque Verde decorated vessels that I have studied. Thick line, diamond shaped, interlocking scrolls are especially diagnostic. Quite often the line work of the thick line, diamond shaped, interlocking scroll is three to four times the size of framing lines or "normal" linework. Squared and rectilinear scrolls are actually more common in Rincon and Early Tanque Verde times. The thin line, squared scroll of Rincon times “evolved” into the thick line, diamond scroll in Tanque Verde times. The "barbs" on "saw tooth" lines become thicker or bigger compared to Rincon designs. The offset opposed examples of this treatment looks like negative "lightning bolts" or lines. See vessel 1Y below and vessel 3Y in the Tanque Verde Red-on-Black section of this guide. Crosshatching occurs on roughly 1/2 of all Tanque Verde decorated vessels. Large motifs such as panels, triangles, bands, or designs, filled with diamond crosshatching are also especially diagnostic. Crosshatching is usually tight so that from a distance, crosshatched bands or panels appear to be huge solid brush strokes. The bands or panels usually measure from ½” to over 2” wide. Roughly, 1/3 of all Tanque Verde decorated vessels have both angular scrolls and crosshatching on the same vessel. In addition to angular scrolls and crosshatching, other common (possibly early) Tanque Verde motifs may be, small round scrolls, wavy lines, fringe, positive life forms, vertical and diagonal hatching, ticks, dots, H’s.


KEY DIFFERENCE(S): Large deep bowls with indented bottoms and primary designs on the exteriors. No “helmet” bowls. No exterior “trailing lines”. Jars with straight necks often with designs on the necks, and classic shoulders. Designs still begin at the shoulder, but the shoulder is lower on jars and ollas, well below maximum diameter. Tanque Verde jars and ollas are usually approximately as tall as they are wide unlike the preceding type Rincon, which are usually wider than they are tall. Interestingly, the possibly succeeding Pima and Papago jars tend to be taller than they are wide.


Color Key: Red=Paint, On Red=Red to Orange Slip, Black=Paint, On Black=Black or Gray Smudge (often “mottled” with brown), White=Paint, On White=White or Buff Slip, Buff=Buff Slip, Brown=Natural Pottery Background.

Primary Design Field, Secondary Design Field

Red-on-Brown, Brown
Red-on-Brown, Red-on-Brown
Red-on-Brown, Black Smudged
Red-on-Brown, Red-on-Black (Polytech)
Red-on-Brown, Red-on-White (Polytech)

COMMENTS: Dates are based on several archaeologists contributions, read article in this guide titled: Rincon -Tanque Verde Transitional Ceramics (King, 2004).


1N Hohokam Early Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown (ca. 1125-1300)

Jar with a short straight neck and round bottom. The design has bands of barbed lines on the body.  The neck design consists of short straight lines and scrolls. Some of the scrolls are rectilinear and some part rectilinear and curvilinear. (possible Transitional Early Tanque Verde )

Approximate Dimensions: 5 1/4" or 13.2cm by 5" or 13.6cm.


2N Hohokam Early Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown (ca. 1125-1300)

Subhemispherical bowl, with an extremely busy design. It has an offset quartered layout with large triangles filled with crosshatching and plaited designs, as well as, panels of rectilinear scrolls and crosshatching with barbed lines and a large thick line rectilinear scroll in the bottom.

Approximate Dimensions: 11" or 27.7cm by 3 1/4" or 8.3cm



3N Hohokam Early Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Bowl (ca. 1125-1300)

(possibly Transitional Early Tanque Verde)

This small bowl is not well made or polished (perhaps the artist was a child).  It is decorated on one side and the bottom with simple crosses and lines. 

There is no rim line or interior design.

Approximate Dimensions: 4 5/8" or 11.7cm by 2 1/4" or 5.8cm.



4N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Bowl (ca. 1125-1450)

Painted with large triangles filled with a checkerboard design along with separate panels of interlocking rectilinear scrolls, although one interesting triangle is decorated with both in conjunction. The scrolls are "ticked" along the basal part from which the scrolls arise, reminiscent of earlier scrolls and stepped greques as see on Hohokam pottery dating all the way back to the Pioneer Period.  The interior has two concentric squiggle lines along the interior of the rim.

Approximate Dimensions: 11 5/8" or 29.5cm by 6 1/2" or 16.5cm.



5N Hohokam (Early) Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Bowl (ca. 1125-1300)

The exterior has a concentric star design, while the interior has three

concentric squiggle lines along the rim.

Approximate Dimensions: 8 7/8" or 20cm by 3 1/4" or 8.3cm.


6N Hohokam Early Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown (Polytech) (ca. 1125-1300)This hemispherical bowl has a tightly packed busy design on the exterior, it also has a possible life form of a turkey painted on a mostly smudged gray-black interior.

Approximate Dimensions: 6 7/8" or 17.5cm by 3 1/4" or 8cm.


7N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown (ca. 1125-1450) platter bowl,

with an offset quartered layout consisting of crosshatched panels, and triangles as well as the center square filled with H's. Approximate Dimensions: 16 1/4" or 41.2cm. by 4 1/2" or 11.5cm.



8N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Jar (AD 1125 - 1450).

Approximate Dimensions: 8" or 20.3 cm. by 8" or 20.3 cm.



9Y Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Duck Effigy Vessel (AD 1125 - 1450).

Approximate Dimensions: 10 1/2" by 10 1/2" by 9 1/4"




10N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Gourd or Melon Effigy Vessel (AD 1125 - 1450).

Approximate Dimensions: 5 5/8" by 5 5/8"





11Y Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Bowl with very thin linework.

Most of it measures 1mm or less. Some of the thicker lines are about 2mm wide.

Approximate Dimensions: 7 1/4" by 4"




12N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Pitcher


13N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Oblong Olla

14N Hohokam (Early) Tanque VerdeRed-on-Brown partial jar, with a rounded

gila shoulder and a straight neck with a design of degenerate interlocking scrolls and dots.

The body has a plaited design, some of the solids being "ticked", or painted with "ticking".

Height of partial jar is approximately 4" or 10cm.


15Y Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Jar

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


16Y Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Jar. This vessel

looks like it may have a white slip or wash, however upon closer examination it may be

the result of caliche or calcium carbonate staining.

Approximate Dimensions: 8 1/2" by 7 1/2"




17N Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown Bowl.

This vessel could be typed as Tanque Verde Red-on-Black because about half of the

exterior is smudged, however it may be accidental.

Approximate Dimensions: 10 1/8" by 6"




18Y Hohokam Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown  "Lipped" Bowl.

Approximate Dimensions: 6 3/8" by 3"



19N Hohokam Early Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown bowl (ca. 1125-1300), with full exterior and interior design. The interior has multiple H's, and a hatched band surrounding what might almost be a life form. The exterior is a plaited design with H's and crosses filling in the "normally" open spaces. This bowl has a raised indented bottom (common in the Tanque Verde Phase), and was found in direct association with "normal" Tanque Verde sherds. Approximate Dimensions: 4 3/4" or 12cm by 2" or 5cm.

20N Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown (early) Jar

with a "Gila Shoulder" and tall neck. This shape and design layout (with a separate design on the neck) is common in the Safford and Phoenix area's but somewhat rare in the Tucson area.

Approximate Dimensions: 8 1/4" by 6 1/4"


This page last revised: 11/19/2012

Copyright: 2004 - 2012 All Rights Reserved.

We welcome your linking to our site, however all documents, webpages, photographs and images are the property of www.rarepottery.info. Written permission is required to copy, download or use any text, photographs or image files. Contact: rarepotteryinfo@aol.com