This is a fascinating jar by Dominguita Pino Martinez. She was the mother of Cresencia Martinez and Tonita Roybal and the grandmother of Alfonso Roybal (Awa Tsireh), Tomasita Montoya Sanchez, JD Robyal and Margaret Lou Gutierrez. She was well known by the early 1900’s for her black-on-red pottery. This jar is a classic example of her work and although it was not signed (she did not sign any of her work), it has a great provenance. The piece was acquired from Dick Howard, who had shown the jar to Maria Martinez in 1965. Maria identified it as the work of Dominguita Pino from around 1915. Dick was one of the great early resources for getting pottery identified by Maria. Dick had written this out on the receipt for the piece when it was acquired in 1999 (see last photo). However, it is not just the identification from Dick Howard, but the jar itself is one of her classic styles. The shape with the straight style of neck and the high shoulder are certainly associated with her work. The painting style of the open designs are also in her manner. Some of her later pieces are more detailed and probably painted by Tonita. The jar was slipped red and then painted with the black to create the coloration. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. There is a slight lean to one side.
In “Spoken Though Clay” Dick Howard had an interesting quote (he had originally said to Richard Spivey) when talking about identifying historic San Ildefonso pottery.
“Because Maria—and I’ve found this to be true of other potters—considers the potter to be the one who does the potting. The painting is aside from that. Only rarely did she even comment on the painting. Once in a while she’d say, ‘Oh, that’s a nice design.’ But almost always she was really examining the potting, and she’d feel the pot or feel the inside. So unless I asked, as a follow-up, if the potter had also decorated it, she usually didn’t tell me one way or another, which I thought was interesting. Because to my eye what I often see first when I look at the decorated pot is the design, but that wasn’t what she saw. She always just sort of looked through the design.” —Richard Howard, 2000
Early San Ildefonso Pottery Innovators -1920-1940