de la Cruz, Juan and Lois Gutierrez – 15″ Tall “Four Directions” Storage Jar
This is an exceptional large storage jar by Juan de la Cruz. He is known for his painted polychrome pottery. Juan is a son of noted potter Lois Gutierrez. Lois made the jar and Juan, who is noted for his illustrations, painted the design using natural clay slips. The jar is a striking shape with a round body and an elongated neck. The body of the jar has four scenes, each reflecting on the four directions. He wrote of the piece:
“From the four cardinal directions, they traveled. From the north Blue Lion, from the East White Wolf, from the West Yellow Bear, and from the south Red Macaw.”
Around the neck are each of the animals, the bear, wolf, mountain lion, and macaw. Below are figures carrying different styles of pottery from the various regions. Check out the amazing detail in the pottery pieces! WOW! The jar was traditionally fired and it is a true polychrome (more than three colors of clay). There is a small watercolor painting with the story which accompanies the jar. The last photos are of the jar in process and being fired outdoor. Most recently, one of Juan’s large storage jars was acquired by the Wheelwright for their permanent collection! While Juan is new to the pottery world, he recently won “Best of Pottery” at Gallup Ceremonials in 2017 and again in 2019. He has been featured in articles in Cowboys & Indians Magazine and Native Art Magazine in 2018.