Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Jar with Pueblo Birds
This is a striking polychrome 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 has a shape inspired by the work of Florentino and Martina Montoya. Note the rounded upper shoulder which then flares out to the rim. It is this rounded neck which you see revived on this jar (see last photo). The rim is polished a deep red and the neck is polished white. There are cloud designs above the birds. Note the subtle coloration contrast of the birds and the cream or white-colored clay! Below the shoulder is a painted rain design and the base is polished black. It is interesting how the etched areas are slipped both red and black in contrast with the birds. The colorations of black, red and white are all seen in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920 (and again, see last photo). His deep red clay is another recent addition to his clay art. There are six bands of hematite hei-shi beads. 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 jar is signed on the bottom in the clay. It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives. The last photo is a polychrome jar by Florentino and Martina Montoya as a reference for the historic polychrome coloration.