Color. The slip is bentonite, a cream colored clay so fine that it can be polished with a rag instead of a stone. Decoration in rich black, made from the Rocky Mountain beeplant without mineral addition. Within recent years a little red has been added to the design.
The figures are mostly geometrical, made by drawing bands of squares or rectangles and then cutting off the corners with angular or curving masses of black color. The result is large, widely spaced black triangles, often with one curving side. Newer designs are large plant and bird forms containing red. Very recently the village has been making a great quantity of polished black ware, in imitation of San lldefonso. This ware is a rusty black with typical flower and geometrical motifs.
The black-on-cream style has been in use for a century or two. Before that Domingo used decorations of glossy black mineral glaze on red. It was pre-Spanish but may have taken some hints from the Spaniards and therefore was given up after the pueblo revolution in 1680.
The slip is bentonite, its color a pinkish cream in the newer pieces, yellowish white in older ones. It extends unusually close to the base, sometimes all the way. Designs in black outline.
This pueblo, unlike the others, has no taboo against representing symbols of fertility, such as clouds, rain and lightning. There are also fantastic bird, human, and animal forms, scattered at random over the cream surface, with the effect of line drawings.
A good many animal and human figurines.
The black-on-cream style with its fertility symbols and bird and animal forms goes back for a century and perhaps two. At some time before that the style was black glaze on red as with Domingo.
Plate IV-10. Black on cream, Cochiti.
The bentonite slip is a grayish cream, showing crackling as a result of firing. The crackling serves to distinguish this ware from that of Cochiti whose colors are otherwise similar. Decoration in black outlines.
Wavy black lines circle the pot which is not divided into separate design fields. Often there is a meander or "Greek key" design, which breaks at intervals into three or five lobed leaves. This style differs from that of Cochiti, which also use black outlines, in that there are few human and animal forms.
This is the style characteristic of pueblo since about 1700. Since it does not appeal to white purchasers, it has been almost completely given up in favor of tourist bric-a-brac, tinted with commercial colors. (See page 105) Some women occasionally produce jars in the old style, in response to prizes offered by the New Mexico Association for Indian Affairs.
Plate IV-11. Black on cream, Tetuque.
Plate IV-12. Three colored pottery, Santo Ana.