The traditional pottery of the Hemish, or Jemez People, was black and white (-ish) pottery, tempered with volcanic tufa, slipped with a white clay, painted with a vegetable paint, and fired in a pit.
This pottery type is dated between AD 1350 and 1700.
Joshua Madalena, current governor of Jemez Pueblo, rediscovered this ancient pottery type when he managed the pre-historic Jemez State Monument, around 2000.
In 2005, Jemez Black-on-White was reintroduced to the art market, at Santa Fe Indian Market, after a 300+-year absence.
Mr. Madalena received the SWAIA (Southwestern Association of Indian Arts) and Allen Houser Lifetime Achievement Legacy Award for Pottery in 2012, in recognition of his efforts to bring this pottery back to life.
This graceful olla is one of his latest versions.
The stepped motifs that mark the four sides of the piece represent rainfall; the dots between them are drops of water, the most precious, life-sustaining resource.
The flared and scalloped rim resembles the tablita (headdress) of a dancer, as well as waves of flowing water. The lines that descend from each scallop are also rain and water signs.
Aside from the historical weight of this kind of pottery, this piece is a masterful blend of round and straight forms and lines.
The unusual, flared and scalloped rim gives it a gracefully dramatic focal point that complements the diameter, and makes the pot unique.
A historic revival, and a handsome, uncommonly striking pot.