de la Cruz, Juan – Polychrome “Four Directions” Water Jar (2017)
Juan de la Cruz creates complex painted polychrome pottery. He is a son of noted potter Lois Gutierrez. Juan is noted for his paintings and illustrations and takes his talent to the clay using all-natural clay slips to create the designs! This water jar is truly polychrome (more than three colors of clay). The story of this jar is as follows:
“This piece depicts the four cardinal directions. North (Blue Mountain Lion), East (White Wolf), South (Red Macaw), and West (Yellow Bear).”
The jar has a low shoulder and sloping sides. There are four figures next to each of the animals. Next to the Mountain Lion is a woman holding a piece of pottery. Next to the bear is a woman holding a basket and a shell. The woman with the parrot is holding a hoop that the stylized bird is sitting on! Finally, the woman next to the wolf is holding a bow and has a very elaborate cloak. The jar is exceptional in the detail and flow of designs across the surface. All the different colors and details are what make Juan’s pottery so amazing. There is a watercolor painting that comes with the jar with the four animals as the design. The jar is signed, “Juan, Lois”. It is from 2017 and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. He has won “Best of Pottery” at Gallup Ceremonials in 2017 and has been featured in articles in Cowboys & Indians Magazine and Native Art Magazine.