Medina, Sofia – Large Jar with Zia Birds, Rainbow and Zia Sun (1970s)
Sofia Medina was known for her traditional style of Zia pottery. Each piece was coil built, painted with native clays, and native fired. This is jar is one of her more complex designs. It is a classic Zia shape with a high shoulder and a slight neck. The jar has a double rainbow design that is polished both tan and red. Below the rainbows on each side is a tan polished Zia bird. Around the birds are red polished clouds and flowers. Separating the birds and rainbows are sections each with a Zia Sun. This is a very important design to Zia culture. The symbol has a sacred meaning, represented by the four rays, each of which has four bands. Four is a sacred number which symbolizes the Circle of Life: the four directions, the four times of day, the four stages of life, and the four seasons. Each of the rays is polished tan. The center has a bird that is polished red. The jar is a striking balance of design and form. It is unusual to see their work with such complicated patterns! Did you know that Zia potters use basalt as their temper for the clay, which gives these pieces their stability but also weight? The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed on the side, “Sofia Medina”.