Montoya, Tomasita – Red and Tan Jar (1930’s)
Tomasita Montoya is one of the early revivalists in San Juan pottery. This jar is very unusual in its style, as it reflects the earlier San Juan red and tan pottery from the late 1800s. The jar is polished red on the top half and tan on the bottom. It is this historic color combination of red and tan from which the San Juan Innovators took inspiration for their revival. The inside of the bowl is also fully polished. It is signed on the bottom with a white clay slip, “Tomasita Montoya”. This style of signing pottery was popular in the late 1930s at Santa Clara Pueblo and also at San Juan. The jar is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.
Tomasita was one of the original Eight San Juan potters who revived the art form in the 1930s. 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.