Tesuque PuebloTesuque Pueblo was one of three main makers of fine painted pottery during During the 18th and 19th century.
The name Tesuque is a Spanish variation of the Tewa name, Te Tesugeh Oweengeh, meaning the “village of the narrow place of the cottonwood trees.” Tesuque, one of eight northern pueblos, is located just north of Sante Fe, New Mexico. When the Spanish arrived in 1541, they found six villages including the original Tesuque village, which was located about 3 miles east of today’s village. The Tesuque warriors struck the first blow during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 when two of their messengers were captured by the Spanish.
By 1920 traditional pottery had become history at Tesuque. Production had switched over to the mass manufacture of rain gods, strange little creatures that looked like space aliens holding buckets on their laps. The Gunther Candy Company of Chicago gave them away as promotional items. By 1930 the Tesuque potters embraced brightly colored poster paints and traditional motifs all but disappeared. The color was dazzling but any attempt at quality was virtually non existent. By the 1960’s there were signs of a revival but it was slow in coming.
Terry Tapia, Ka’ Ween, and Bea Duran reintroduced quality in the 1980’s and reestablished a market for Tesuque pottery that blossomed in the 1990’s.