Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Plate with Bird, Avanyu, Bear and Sun

8.5" diameter

$ 9,800.00

This is an exceptionally complex polychrome plate 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 plate has a micaceous back and rim.  There is a band of checkerboard design surrounded by turquoise and hematite heishi beads.  The center medallion is polished white.  There is a large classic San Ildefonso bird on one side with an old-style avanyu and a rising sun.  The avanyu is highlighted with both black and red clay slips.  This style was inspired by the black-and-red lines on the polychrome pottery of Maria Martinez & Popovi Da (see last two photos).  The avanyu has a turquoise inset eye and 36 inset hematite stones.  The bird has a polished red medallion with a bear and an inset piece of turquoise. There are additional turquoise insets on the tail of the bird. It is always amazing to think that after the white area is polished, all the designs are etched into the clay and then highlighted with red and black clay BEFORE it is fired.  The plate was traditionally fired. The clay 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 jar 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.