POLYCHROME, BLACK-ON-RED, polished blackware, Jeddito yellow ware … the types of Native pottery and their evolutionary arcs provide a rich field of study for art historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists. Certain styles and colors might be associated with particular tribes and pueblos, but they also don’t constrain those artists or resist being melded, one into another. Here are a few books to help you learn some basics. Heads up: A few of these are out of print. Good hunters might find copies for sale; research libraries, including those at museums, could be your best bet.
Charles S. King, owner of King Galleries in Santa Fe and Scottsdale, features mostly contemporary artists in Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest. His other books include Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya and The Life and Art of Tony Da, both featuring renowned Santa Clara Pueblo potters.
Dwight P. Lanmon and Francis H. Harlow have co-authored a series of well-regarded books that include The Pottery of Acoma Pueblo, The Pottery of Santa Ana Pueblo, The Pottery of Zuni Pueblo, and The Pottery of Zia Pueblo.
Art historian and curator Joseph Traugott dedicates a chapter to “The Art of Ancestral Pueblo Villages” in his indispensable New Mexico Art Through Time.
In All That Glitters, Duane Anderson surveys historic-through-contemporary micaceous pottery held at the School for Advanced Research’s Indian Arts Research Center.
Talking with the Clay: The Art of Pueblo Pottery, by Stephen Trimble, is a rich visual introduction to the artform.