First Timer: Who made this polychrome pottery water vessel and when?

AlJay

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Aug 30, 2016
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Hello:

This is my first, ever, post in this forum (I have looked at a number of posts but never done one myself). I need help! This water, or storage, vessel (I believe that's what it is because of its size: 17" tall by about 15" wide), belonged to a very wealthy Denver businessman who recently passed away. He was so wealthy that, from time to time, he was taken advantage and bought what he liked regardless of the price. On the other hand, every so often he would buy what has turned out to be a gem, and that's what we're trying to figure out here...is this a gem or junk? The vessel has a rim repair but, if it's old, it is in pretty good condition. I haven't seen any native american or southwestern pottery that I would consider to be really similar. Any help in identifying the jar's origin and possible date of production would be much appreciated. There are no marks on the piece.

Thank you!
 

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unclemac

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Oct 12, 2011
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we can't really give you more than opinions...such a piece should be identified first hand.
 

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tamrock

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Kind of has a Mimbres look to it imo. Maybe a potter from the south west region of New Mexico I'm thinking? People who know native pottery well should be able to identify for sure how old it is and who most likely made it. It's not junk from what I see, but I don't think it's real old, but made in the fashion of the old designs.
 

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AlJay

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Aug 30, 2016
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Thank you! Opinions are just what I need right now. To identify this piece this piece I first need a track to run on and there may be someone out there who recognizes the iconography...so I'll take opinions! Again, thanks.
 

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AlJay

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Aug 30, 2016
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Tamrock, thank you! I thought it looked a little "southwestern" as well but the fish, (which is on 3 sides by the way), confused me. Also, I have not been able to find the other designs anywhere. The man did have some legitimate pre-Columbian pieces, (he was a billionaire so throwing around his money he had to get some things right...plus he had some very expensive galleries selling him "stuff"), but I don't disagree...this one looks too good...however it doesn't appear to be as modern as the local Casas Grandes pieces or the Mimbres reproductions. I think the iconography will be the key, if anyone has seen these images before. Thanks, Tamrock!!
 

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AlJay

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Aug 30, 2016
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Again, thanks unclemac! Yes, I know that's part of the issue; the piece is unmarked so the potter is unknown. Its size makes it extremely unusual which is probably why the owner bought the piece in the first place (although he's not around to ask). I am figuring that, with all the experienced people frequenting this forum, someone may have run across the iconography before. The buff tan substrate, the polychrome red and black illustrations ...even the stylized nature of the art are similar to many different groups (Casas Grandes, Ramos, Mimbres, etc.)...but the iconography is different.
 

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AlJay

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Aug 30, 2016
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Thank you, Gopher Da Gold!

I thought that might be a possibility but most of the Mata Ortiz pottery I've seen is signed. I know some of the lesser quality pieces are a bit rough and not as refined, so perhaps not signed, but I haven't seen any. Also, this is really big compared to the other Mata Ortiz pieces I have had the opportunity to view. I appreciate the suggestion and if I am wrong, and it does appear to be Mata Ortiz to someone else, I hope someone will correct me. Again, thank you!
 

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FC-Treasure

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Sep 9, 2011
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AlJay

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Aug 30, 2016
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Hello F.C.:

Actually, the style of the art on the pieces are both very similar to "Ramos" (very geometric with polychrome red butting the black outline). The shapes of the vessels are completely different and, if we were to be able to see the original listing you sent, I believe we would find that the piece is only 7" to 9" high...very common for Mata Ortiz. Mata Ortiz began with their reproductions in the early 1960s and tried to be faithful to the designs of the earlier pottery that came from the area. As far as I know, most is signed and I have never seen a piece this big, never with this kind of Fish motif and never with the iconography seen here. I am somewhat familiar with Mata Ortiz, though certainly not an expert, I have sold some pieces before and this just doesn't resemble any I have ad an opportunity handled...plus it appears older. Thank you.
 

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dougachim

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Hello:

This is my first, ever, post in this forum (I have looked at a number of posts but never done one myself). I need help! This water, or storage, vessel (I believe that's what it is because of its size: 17" tall by about 15" wide), belonged to a very wealthy Denver businessman who recently passed away. He was so wealthy that, from time to time, he was taken advantage and bought what he liked regardless of the price. On the other hand, every so often he would buy what has turned out to be a gem, and that's what we're trying to figure out here...is this a gem or junk? The vessel has a rim repair but, if it's old, it is in pretty good condition. I haven't seen any native american or southwestern pottery that I would consider to be really similar. Any help in identifying the jar's origin and possible date of production would be much appreciated. There are no marks on the piece.

Thank you!
Mata Ortiz modern dates no earlier than 1970.
 

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Clay Diggins

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Seriously not Ortiz or pre colombian. Neither is it Mimbres but it's obviously inspired by Mimbres art as well as what appears to be Tinglit design. It appears to be a modern designer piece. It's very nice and a good size. It's handmade coilware, I suspect it's Mexican manufacture but it would require closer inspection to tell the actual origin.

A few questions. When you tap it with your fingernail what sound does it make?
Are there any chips, wear spots or firing stilt marks? If so what is the color under the glaze?

It's an attractive piece. It would probably bring a nice price at an auction. If you could find out more about who manufactured it the value could be more than you expect even with the repair.
 

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dougachim

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Seriously not Ortiz or pre colombian. Neither is it Mimbres but it's obviously inspired by Mimbres art as well as what appears to be Tinglit design. It appears to be a modern designer piece. It's very nice and a good size. It's handmade coilware, I suspect it's Mexican manufacture but it would require closer inspection to tell the actual origin.

A few questions. When you tap it with your fingernail what sound does it make?
Are there any chips, wear spots or firing stilt marks? If so what is the color under the glaze?

It's an attractive piece. It would probably bring a nice price at an auction. If you could find out more about who manufactured it the value could be more than you expect even with the repair.
My buddy sold Mata Ortiz pottery for decades. I grew up in the area. 1970s Mata Ortiz
 

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Clay Diggins

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My buddy sold Mata Ortiz pottery for decades. I grew up in the area. 1970s Mata Ortiz
Thanks for sharing your opinion again Doug. So you agree that it's Mexican. You grew up in Mexico - cool! Casas Grandes or Mata Ortiz pueblo?

I was unaware the Mata Ortiz village factories were now producing coilware. When I was there in the mid seventies the better pots were thrown and the cheep stuff was slip cast.
 

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dougachim

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Thanks for sharing your opinion again Doug. So you agree that it's Mexican. You grew up in Mexico - cool! Casas Grandes or Mata Ortiz pueblo?

I was unaware the Mata Ortiz village factories were now producing coilware. When I was there in the mid seventies the better pots were thrown and the cheep stuff was slip

Between Janos and Nuevo Casas Grandes on the river
 

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