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Mata Ortiz Indigenous Mexican Olla. $185. SOLD.

Turned Wood Olla

Mata Ortiz is a tiny indigenous village in northern Sonora, Mexico, just below the Arizona border. Here, a man named Juan Quezada revived an ancient (and similarly indigenous) pottery tradition that experts have established is related directly to the style of famed Hopi potter Nampeyo. Mata Ortiz pottery features simple lines and elegant workmanship, often with detailed decorative accents, but this spare, elegant olla (or water jar) by the village’s own ‘Stavo Silveira needs no other ornament. Formed out of a deep-red clay of a soft, gentle hue, its thin walls have a delicate uniformity of depth and texture all the way up to the lip. The silken-smooth finish appears opaque at first glance; upon closer inspection, the natural lines of the clay create a mysteriously shirred watercolor effect emanating from the base of the olla. This jar is made the old way, which originally was for practical purposes: holding water. Village women carried the jars between their homes and the watershed, balanced on their heads. The bottom of the jar is thus rounded, not flat; for display purposes, it requires a pottery stand or a coiled base like the one shown. Stands 8.5″ high by 6.5″ across at the widest point (dimensions approximate).

Red clay
$185 + shipping, handling, and insurance
Coiled fabric pot stand, $10
Requires special handling; extra shipping charges apply

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