Pot by Mata Ortiz Artist Alvaro Quezada
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This pot by Alvaro Quezada with perfectly executed diagonal designs is a round olla with flared neck, white clay and red and black paint. Alvaro follows the tradition of fine craftsmanship established by his father Juan Quezada. The local white clay he uses originates from a deposit his father discovered. It is more technically difficult to handle than regular clay, so this work of art reflects Alvaro's a high degree of expertise. The artist incised his signature at the bottom of the pot. Yarn wrapped pottery ring included. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity.
Dimensions: Height 6-1/2 inches, Width 6 inches Opening 1-3/4 inches
The history of Mata Ortiz, both the village and the pottery, can be traced through the archaeological remains of nearby Casas Grandes (Spanish for Great Houses; also known as Paquime). This is the contemporary name given to a Pre-Columbian city-state located in northwestern Mexico in the modern-day Mexican state of Chihuahua.
This is where Juan Quezada, guided only by his intuition recreated an ancient ceramic technology as he studied the ancient pots and shards he found as he roamed the desert in his youth. His painstaking efforts with rough, primitive techniques produced astonishingly perfect, incredibly beautiful and sophisticated works of art. His commercial success inspired relatives and neighbours to produce the now famous Mata Ortiz pottery that allowed them to sustain themselves and improve the whole region's economy.
Mata Ortiz pots are hand built starting with large coils of clay without the use of a potter's wheel. Shaping, polishing and painting the clay is entirely done by hand, often with brushes made from children's hair. The clay and natural pigments used to paint the pots are readily available locally and cow dung or split cottonwood is used as fuel for the firing pits.
Each potter or pottery family produces distinctive individualized ware and over the last thirty or so years, the complex design concepts have evolved to include not only traditional Pre-Columbian Paquime and Mimbres designs but also vibrant, contemporary ones with incredible geometric patterns.