This is very large dough bowl from Kewa (formerly Santo Domingo) Pueblo. It is 11″ tall by 19″ in diameter; it is relatively thick walled and the large design elements (and large fire cloud) even the wide band at the top of the underbody serve to underscore it’s large presence. This bowl feels and looks significant. It dates to perhaps 1890’s to 1910.
The simple design of large 6 pointed stars perfectly compliments the bowl’s majestic form. It has double framing lines at the rim and separating the mid-body from the under-body. The unslipped and unpainted underbody is large, attesting to the fact that the bowl was meant to sit on dirt pueblo floor and looking down the most visible area of the jar would be the mid-body. The interior is polished and a beautiful orange color. There is a large fire cloud on one side of the pot, indicative of traditional outdoor firing. (I will soon add a second photo of the cloud).
The bowl was once broken in half. It was put back together again professionally and ethically with the scar from the original crack still subtly visible. A break of this kind in an old pueblo dough bowl occurs from pressure against the inner wall of the bowl. Such pressure can come from years of home use such as kneading dough, storage of bread or other foods or even the kicks of babies being bathed in large bowls like this. For these reasons, a break of this kind is often welcome by collectors of old pueblo pottery. For me, it is one of my favorite injuries to an old pot, occurring from a mother’s work to cherish her family and the bowl’s work in doing the same.
If it sounds like I love this warm, old pot, it’s because I do.
Provenance: The Elkhart Collection and the collection of Lyn and Ellen Fox