Skip to Content

Featured Native American Pottery

Showing 12 of 44

Image of Olla (Water Jar)

Bookmark and Share


Maria Martinez
Native American (1887 - 1980) Primary

Olla (Water Jar)

ca. 1923-1936
Black clay with burnished decoration

9 1/2 in. x 11 1/8 in. ( diameter) (24.13 cm x 28.26 cm)
Bequest of Milton C. Nahm, Professor of Philosophy

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 91.E1.15
Geography: North and Central America, United States, New Mexico, San Il Defonso Pueblo
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Ollas
Culture/Nationality: Pueblo, San Ildefonso
Collection: Nahm Collection
One of four vessels by acclaimed potter Maria Martinez in the Bryn Mawr collection, this olla illustrates her most famous style: a burnished black-on-black matte with simple and repetitive figural and geometric designs. This particular vessel displays a horned serpent (avanyu) and an eagle feather design, both frequent motifs used by Martinez. Among Pueblo peoples, the avanyu is believed to be a water spirit, with the wavy body representing underworld waters and the tongue representing lightning.

Martinez, a traditional potter, entered the national spotlight when she created this style of black-on-black ware with her husband, Julian Martinez, and began to sign her vessels. Through her exhibition of traditional pottery techniques at national events, Pueblo pottery gained recognition as an important American art form.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 91.E1.15_BMC_f.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Olla (Water Jar) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/10/2021 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

Showing 12 of 44

Your current search criteria is: Portfolio is "Featured Native American Pottery".

View current selection of records as: