Atencio, Luteria – 12″ Tall Tan Incised Potsuwi’i Jar (1940’s)
This is one of the largest pieces we have seen by Luteria Atencio outside of a museum! It is one of her tan pieces inspired by the Posuwi’i incised wares. The early innovation in San Juan pottery was this style, although typically with a red rim and base. The jar is polished on the rim and base. The central area is fully designed with three bands of design. The top has a sun and rain pattern. The central area has very intricate clouds, rain, and lightning designs. The complexity and variation of the design is exceptional! The incised areas were slipped with mica which shines in the incised grooves of the jar. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Luteria Atencio”. The jar is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It is quite phenomenal in person!
Luteria was one of the original Eight San Juan potters who revived the art form in the 1930s. She is a fascinating personality who promoted San Juan pottery and art throughout her career. Her grandson, Mike Bird, is a well-known jeweler. At San Juan, the Pueblo was renowned for their pottery but by about 1890 there were no potters left. In 1930 Regina Cata organized a pottery study group at San Juan Pueblo with the intent of revitalizing pottery production. The group studied ancient potsherds of wares made at San Juan in earlier times and selected Potsuwi‘i Incised Ware (1450-1500) as a basis for a contemporary pottery type.