The kaolin slip is grayish white because of impurities and is generally much worn, since most pieces are old. The red base extends far up the jar, sometimes to the shoulder. Decoration is red figures outlined or partly outlined with black.
Bold, crude figures, generally thick bands in terrace formation.
Pottery is no longer made at this pueblo, though twenty years ago there were women still working. Even the few old pieces now to be found are carelessly and poorly executed.
Plate IV-13. Three colored pottery, Zia.
The slip is white which, in some recent cases, has been changed to buff. The base of the jar is slipped in red for some distance up the sides. Decoration is in red ochre and black made from rocks containing iron and manganese ground fine and mixed with juice from the Rocky Mountain beeplant as glue. Occasionally the red is omitted.
There is more variety of design than in many other pueblos. The most distinctive pattern represents a long-legged bird with a few big tail feathers. Often there is a wide curved band in heavy red. Other designs are fawns, plant sprays, conventionalized leaves, and some geometric forms.
Zia, in early days, was a great style center and its influence on other pueblos may be noticed, as occasionally at Acoma. At present, pottery is dying out, since the pueblo is so far from the highway that there is little opportunity for sale.
The kaolin slip is white to yellow cream, with deep base of red or dark brown. The decorations are in red and black, or occasionally black only. Up to a hundred years ago, the red was of only one dark shade. Since then, various beds of ochre have been discovered, which bake yellow, orange, red, and brown.
There are two main types of design. One is an allover pattern, covering the whole jar with complicated angles and curves. The other, influenced by Zia, has a few large flowers or birds. The Acoma bird can usually be distinguished by his curved, parrot-like beak.
Distinctive Structure. Acoma pottery is recognized by its thinness. The jars are finer and lighter than those of other pueblos.
Acoma styles have changed less since they were first studied in 1870 than those of almost any other pueblo. Even the influence from Zia seems to have been quite early.
Plate IV-14. Three colored pottery, Acoma.
Slip, clear white kaolin, which darkens with age. It does not extend quite to the base of the jar, the lower part being slipped with brown or black. Decorations in black, with touches of red.
The surface to be decorated is laid off in sections, usually two or four, each of which contains a unit design, such as a deer, a bird, or rosette. The neck has a smaller, geometrical pattern of its own. It is separated from the body by a band, often a double black line, which must always be broken at one point, as a "spirit path." Otherwise, the belief is that the maker's soul would be imprisoned and she might die.
Zuni water jars are made on a bowl foundation and often show a bulge where the sides spread out beyond this. Zuni specialized in the pottery owl, though all pueblos made bird forms sometimes.
Zuni pots have kept to the old style more nearly than many of the others, though they have changed slowly since 1879. Very few are made now.
Plate IV-15. Three colored pottery, Zuni.