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Pottery - 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 decorative purposes.

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.

Related Information within this Site
[ Baskets ][ Dishes ][ Pueblo Indians ][ Zuñi ]