Tapia, Belen – Polychrome Plate with Deer (1960s)
Belen Tapia was a diverse potter creating everything from painted to carved pottery. This large plate is from the 1960’s. It is polychrome, that is, using more than three clay colors, for the design. The plate has a scene with two deer on a hill with the sun in the sky. There are painted clouds and rain. This style of design with painted deer scenes were very popular in the 1950s-60s. Belen was masterful in this style with complex painted imagery and multiple clay colors. Especially, note the landscape, which is slipped with brown, white and gray/blue clays, overlapping in a painterly manner! It is quite an exceptional example of this style of Santa Clara pottery. Belen Tapia was a nice of Sara Fina Tafoya and the mother of Anita Suazo and Anna Archuleta. The plate is signed on the bottom in the back, “Belen Tapia” and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.