Montoya, Tomasita – “Three Spout” Carved Polychrome Jar (1960’s)
This is an unusual carved jar by Tomasita Montoya. She was one of the early revivalists in San Juan pottery. This jar is both incised and carved. The rim and base are fully polished. The design has carved clouds, mountains, and rain. There are lighter incised areas connecting the more deeply carved imagery. The deeper carved designs became more prominent in the late 1940s and ’50s. What is unusual is the three “spouts” on the rim. They are rounded out as if they are spouts giving the overall top a more triangular appearance. The jar is in excellent condition with no cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed, “Tomasita Montoya” on the bottom, although it is somewhat worn away.
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.