A Mata Ortiz pottery jar, by Juan Quezada

(b. 1940, Mata Ortiz, Mexico)
Signed to the inside of the neck: Juan Quezada
The duotone, earthenware jar with a crisscrossing "elastic" design
6.75" H x 9.5" Dia.

  • Literature: Rick Cahill, "The Story of Casas Grandes Pottery" (Tucson, AZ: Boojum Books, 1991), 54.
  • Notes: The development of Pueblo pottery of Casas Grandes, as well as of Hohokam, Mogollon, and Anasazi cultures, represents a long history of pottery production and evolution dating back more than 1500 years. Mata Ortiz pottery is a Northern Mexico pueblo pottery inspired by pre-historic pottery shards found at architectural digs at Casas Grandes or present-day Mata Ortiz. The iconography of these early pottery shards, along with the white clay found on Juan Quezada Celado's property, would influence the entire re-creation of Mata Ortiz pottery in the mid-20th Century. Inspiration quickly evolved and led to an entirely new emergence of pottery from Northern Mexico and ultimately led to the development of a thriving community of artists. Juan Quezada Celado produces pottery in the traditional way, by hand, using traditional pigments, and in earthen pits with materials found on his land. It is estimated that his process takes him about 40 hours of work to produce one pot. A Renaissance man who left school in the third grade, Juan Quezada is now known as the "Maestro". His pottery is complex in its creation and in its finished decorations. His abilities with clay have allowed him to not only mentor his family and community but influence an entire generation of ceramicists that have understudied with him. "Before Juan can make a pot, he rides his horse into the mountains in search of good clay; he digs it and packs it out in gunny sacks. He buys nothing; everything comes from the earth. He even paints with brushes made with the hair of his children." 
  • Condition: Overall good condition with shelf wear, scattered minor scuffs, and inherent firing flaws commensurate with age. No evidence of repairs or restorations under blacklight.

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February 17, 2022 12:00 PM PST
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