Dramatic and Totally Unique San Ildefonso Polychrome Dough Bowl with Prehistoric Sankawi Designs (and a Maria Martinez mention) c. 1905


In the 1920’s and 1930’s Edgar Lee Hewitt and others encouraged pueblo potters to come to the old Laboratory of Anthropology to use the designs on the old pottery as a basis for their own new work. I believe this is one of those Lab pieces. The model for it may be one of the old photos below from the Museum of New Mexico collection and illustrated in Harlow’s Matte-Paint Pottery book, p. 150, figure e.

Cochiti origin is possible since it is decorated inside and out and has a line or spirit break (a bare spot at rim). And there were potters at Cochiti making larger pottery. Yet it is unlikely a Cochiti potter would feel called to depict an historic Tewa design. However, a San Ildefonso potter would! Edgar Hewitt had a close relationship with Maria of San Ildefonso. And Maria made bowls. So, just perhaps, Maria and husband Julian, copied the Sankawi design including the non-polished finish and imperfect artistry and created this bowl. A wonderful, unusual bowl with, a blend of very old and early modern.

Condition Fine with minor scuffing and naturally thin
white slip
Provenance an important Phoenix collection
of fine and unique pueblo bowls




Additional information



7” deep by 14” diameter


San Ildefonso