Large Olla by Mata Ortiz Artist Isela Cota
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This large olla by Isela Cota features abstract diagonal geometric designs with bold interlocked swirls alternated with fine hand drawn straight parallel lines painted with black and umber paint on mezclado (marbled clay that is produced by mixing red and yellow/white clay). An ovoid shaped opening is on the side of the olla in addition to its regular round opening at the top. The artists signature is incised on the bottom of the pot. Yarn wrapped pottery ring included. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity.
Dimensions: Height 8 inches, Width 7 inches in diameter.
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.