Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Jar with Old Style Avanyu and Swirl Base
This is a creative polychrome water jar by Russell Sanchez. He continues to be one of the true innovators and revivalists in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished, and etched. This jar is inspired by the long-neck-shaped jar with a low, round shoulder, like those made in the 1920s by Maria Martinez and Tonita Roybal (see second to last photo). The inside of the neck is fully polished red. The outer rim is polished black. The neck has a cream-colored clay slip that is stone polished and incised. There are rain clouds as the design with a stylized version of the old-style water serpent (see last photo). The shoulder of the jar has a checkerboard corn pattern surrounded by two rows of jet hei-shi beads. The base is deeply carved with sixteen swirling sections. Each section is either polished a deep red or black. The colorations of black, red, and white are all seen in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920. His deep red clay is another recent addition to his clay art starting around 2005. As Russell continues to innovate from historic designs, he says, “Tradition means moving forward and adding to it. You keep moving forward. If we stayed stagnant we would no longer exist.” The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Russell”. It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives.