Montoya, Tomasita – Large Terraced Cloud Bowl (1950’s)
Tomasita Montoya is one of the early revivalists in San Juan pottery. She was one of the original seven San Juan potters who revived the art form in the 1930’s. 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. This is a large open bowl with kiva steps or cloud designs. The rim of the bowl has a step pattern which has incised mountain designs. The center of the bowl is deeply carved and then slipped with additional clays for the coloration. The fascinating part about this piece is that it combines both the Potsuw’i’i incised designs on the terraced edges and the San Juan carved designs. The back is fully polished. The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Tomasita Montoya”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Tomasita Montoya”.
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