Montoya, Tomasita – Potsuwi’i Butterflies Incised Water Jar (1950s)
Tomasita Montoya is one of the early revivalists in San Juan pottery. She was one of the original Eight San Juan potters who revived the art form in the 1930s. 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. This jar is one of her classic incised water jars. The neck and base are fully polished red, which is indicative of her earlier work. The central band of the jar has a butterfly pattern incised into the clay. The incised areas are matte with a mica slip added to the recessed areas. This jar is in good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Tomasita Montoya”. It has a slight lean at the rim.