- The making of pottery or vessels of clay was practiced by practically
all Indians of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and in the
Southwest. Most Indians of the Great Plains made pottery before the
coming of the horse. Pottery was made in the Southeast long before
the Christian era.
Indian pottery was not made with a wheel.
Instead it was usually built up of spirals of clay.
Pottery had many uses, the chief of which
was for cooking purposes. The early pottery of the Indians would
stand direct contact with the fire, but modern Indian pottery not only
will not stand fire, but will not hold water as it is made primarily for
The Pueblo tribes were the most expert
makers of pottery and probably learned the art from the Indians of mexico.
Among the Zuñi there is a tradition of how the people learned pottery
making. They were in the habit of lining baskets with clay when they
parched corn. later they found that these clay linings, when dried
out and hardened by fire, could be removed from the baskets and used by
themselves. In this way they learned to make pottery.
At the beginning of this century a Hopi
Indian woman, Nampeo, became famous for her pottery. The art had
almost become lost until she revived it. Another woman, maria Martinez,
of San Ildefonso Village, near Santa Fe, new Mexico, more recently became
noted for her black pottery with its highly polished designs in black.
within this Site
][ Dishes ][ Pueblo
Indians ][ Zuñi ]