Cochiti Pueblo History and Pottery Styles
Cochiti is the closest Keresan-speaking pueblo to Santa Fe. As a result, it has experienced the closest contact with both the Spanish and the Euro-Americans. More than any other pueblo, Cochiti artisans have had fun with their pottery. From the time of early Spanish colonization, Cochiti potters have employed figurative pottery to make fun of the colonizers and themselves. These figurines quickly became popular with tourists after 1880. Production of these whimsical figures declined after 1900 in favor of more conventional shapes and styles.
Traditional Cochiti pottery has been a gray-to-cream-to-white slipped polychrome with black-and-red decoration. Cochiti motifs are isolated decorations, often with little relation to one another. A typical Cochiti feature is the habit of embellishing encircling framing lines with pendant figures, usually simple arcs or triangles, but sometimes with enigmatic, complicated adaptations of older feather motifs appear.
Around 1960, Helen Cordero created “storyteller” figurines. Based on her grandfather’s practice of gathering children around him and telling stories, these figurines became an “overnight success,”especially with tourists. Potters from all over the Rio Grand Valley began making them. The storyteller craze lasted approximately twenty years and then faded. Some potters still create storytellers, but the style no longer dominates Cochiti figurine pottery. Serafina and Guadalupe Ortiz and their descendants, and Damacia Cordero and her daughter are the principal, contemporary Cochiti potters.
COCHITI POT -MRM DIGITAL COLLECTION
This is a traditional pot that is 9.5″ high and 11″wide at its greatest diameter. Finished in traditional fashion it is made of gray, cream clay with a gray-to-cream slip. This pot seems to present a “rain motif.” The life line at the top is embellished with feathers and stepped cloud terrace designs that contain “rain dots.”Snakes, cloud terraces and water patterns dominate the body of the pot. Each of these patterns contains rain dots as well.
The pot is by an unknown artisan and was created sometime between 1790 and 1810.