POTTERY OF THE SOUTHWEST

Artists and Pieces from Southwestern Pottery - Anasazi to Zuni

Zia Pueblo

Zia potters made some of the largest ollas and dough bowls found anywhere. They were sometimes over two feet in diameter.

“Zia” means sun, and it is also the name of the symbol. It is found on pottery, art, and other artifacts of the Zia Pueblo tribes of New Mexico. Located northwest of Albuquerque and next door to Santa Ana, Zia is a pueblo with lots of acreage but little water. The lack of water helped build a strong ceramic tradition which continued for almost 300 years thereafter. To survive, it became necessary for Zia to trade utilitarian pottery for extra food with the Jemez, Santa Ana, and San Felipe Pueblos. Zia potters made some of the largest ollas and dough bowls found anywhere. Some were over two feet in diameter.

Zia shares many of its pottery characteristics with the Keresan language speaking pueblos of Acoma and Laguna. “Where Acoma and Laguna’s bird is a parrot, Zia’s is a roadrunner, often startled, sometimes taking off with its jets roaring and sometimes skidding to a stop with the afterburners going full blast.”

While many of the members work away from the pueblo and only a very limited number of potters remain, there is experimentation and innovative change noted in nontraditional Zia colors, new styles of figure painting and a unique canteen decorated with a hummingbird and appliqued orange leaves. Wow, change does happen but it has been a long time coming.