Atencio, Luteria – Incised Polychrome Jar with Bird Designs (1930’s)
Luteria Atencio is one of the early revivalists in San Juan pottery. This jar is the “second phase” of incised pottery at San Juan. The Potsuwi’i linear incised pieces quickly became the incised and slipped polychrome pottery of the late 1930’s. This allowed the potters to create new imagery. The top and base are typically polished red while the central band has matte (unpolished) clay colors of red, white, and tan. This jar has the early deep red clay slip on the rim and the base. The complex design has birds and flowers. 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.
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 renown 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.