Four red ware traditions were also developed at this
time. These designs were usually black, though sometimes white, on a
background of red or orange slip. These were San Juan Red Ware, Tsegi
Orange Ware, White Mountain Red Ware, and Show Low Red Ware.
Pueblo III period (about 1300), polychromes first appeared. Pueblo
potters began to express a wide variety of colors, design styles, and
vessel forms. The culmination of the Hopi polychromes was Sikyatki
Polychrome, which flourished from A.D. 1400 to 1600. Later polychrome
in the Hopi area included Payupki, Walpi, Polacca, and San Bernardo
types. In the late 1800s, outsiders became interested in Hopi pottery,
and a revival in pottery production was sparked by the work of Nampeyo
and other First Mesa potters. They reproduced the beautiful Sikyatki
Polychrome styles and handed down their skills. Most contemporary
pottery is made on First Mesa.
potters draw on a tradition going back centuries. The ancestors of the
Hopi made gray utility ware as long ago as A.D. 700. The ancient
potters developed black on white styles, black on red, and finally
polychromes. In the late 1800s, outsiders began to appreciate the
artistry of Hopi potters. This new demand sparked what has been called
the revival period for Hopi pottery.
ancient potters passed their skills on to succeeding generations, many
of whom are Hopi potters today. Although First Mesa is the most
well-known for its pottery, Hopi potters can be found throughout the
Hopi mesas. All authentic Hopi pottery is handmade by the coil and
scrape technique. Hopi potters do not use a pottery wheel or make
mold-poured pottery. They use the same techniques as their ancestors,
hand-painting the designs with yucca leaf brushes and using natural
materials provided by their environment. The pots are then fired in
open firing areas.
Hopi potters make their pottery in the traditional manner. The clay is
hand dug on the Hopi mesas and hand processed. The pots are carefully
hand constructed using the coil and scrape techniques their ancestors
taught them. The paints used are from naturally occurring materials.
For example, black paint is made by boiling Beeweed for a long time
until it becomes very dark and thick. It is then dried into little
cakes which are wrapped in corn husk until ready for use. It is called
intricate and beautiful designs are painted free hand using a yucca
leaf brush. The pots are then fired in the open air out on the mesa
using sheep dung and cedar as a heat source. Prehistoric potters did
not have domestic animals to provide dung, but modern potters prefer
it for its rapid, even heat.
pottery is ceremonial in nature and not intended for public
consumption. You will not find this kind of pottery for sale in
reputable galleries and shops. Most prehistoric pottery has been taken
from burial contexts, and the Hopi people find non-Hopi ownership of
these pots offensive. It is better not to buy prehistoric pottery.