Zia Pueblo, just north of Albuquerque, is one of the smaller pueblos – only about 700 inhabitants.
However, it has a long history, including being the origin of the Zia symbol, which is on the state flag of New Mexico. That is a square cross, whose arms are composed of lines.
There are a few potters who have made Zia pottery famous, and one of them is Leslie’s father, Ralph Aragon, who married into the pueblo from San Felipe Pueblo.
This decorative jar, by Leslie Aragon, is very typical of traditional Zia pottery. Like her father, she has exhibited at Santa Fe Indian Market for years.
The dark red color is the natural clay, collected on the pueblo.
It is usually mixed with white paint to create the warm beige slip. Black and pale cream natural colors are also painted over the dark red base.
The design features the traditional Zia “sky band” or rainbow arch, with water spiral and stepped rain designs within it.
A Zia sun symbol, hand of blessing and protection, Kokopelli, the Life-Bringer, and a petroglyph figure are seen in pale cream against the beige slip.
Black accents include more rain and water designs around the neck, plant leaves, and a band to finish the rim.
Tiny speckles all over the beige areas represent raindrops and/or seeds.- the theme is good luck, since crops will grow as a result of sun and water.
Nicely formed, this sprightly jar is typical of the pueblo’s pottery tradition, with an original design and pleasing form. Another generation of Aragons carries on the family tradition!