Salado Polychrome Pottery

Andy Ward has produced an interesting documentary on the origins of Salado Polychrome pottery, originating from his research into replicating the techniques and materials used by Native American peoples to make pottery throughout what is now the American Southwest (Arizona & New Mexico, primarily).

As Andy explains in this video, the stylistic origins of Salado Polychrome came about when local peoples placed a white or buff-colored slip onto coil-and-scrape bowls and then used organic pigments from local plants to decorate the slipped pot with red and black designs. The pots were fired above ground allowing oxidation to preserve the pigments. The resulting pots have compelling 3-colored, intertwined designs: white, black and red.

As a tickler to the video, I’m including an image of one Salado Polychrome “olla” (water container) that is more fully described in the Arizona State Museum’s online exhibit:

Tonto Polychrome Olla, ca. 1340-1450 C.E., (ASM Catalog No. 2011-272-1), Photo: Arizona State Museum

Additional examples and information about Salado Polychrome pottery can be found in a website article prepared by the National Park Service.

Extensive additional information on many sub-classifications of Salado Polychrome pottery can be found on the American Southwest Virtual Museum (an example of which is shown below):

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