A white jar with brown designs on it.


The Pottery Collection

The Heard Museum’s pottery collection comes primarily from the Southwest. Although there are small collections from the pre-Contact period, most of the ceramics are historical or contemporary. The ceramics display striking diversity and include many works of art made by the coil-and-scrape method that were painted with animal, floral and geometric designs. Until the late 1800s, these clay wares were generally utilitarian, used for food storage, preparation and serving. With the manufacture of metal containers in the late 19th century, production of pottery for utilitarian use decreased, and pottery manufacture for sale became more common.

Changes in Southwest pottery in the 20th century included production of smaller works, contemporary design innovations, increasingly perfected surface polishes, and a revival of ancestral designs and surface treatments. In the Southwest, the pottery tradition continues to evolve in the 21st century as artists further explore their medium.

Pottery Collection Highlights

  • A print of two Native women snapping photos with digital cameras.
    Jason Garcia, Santa Clara Pueblo/Pojoaque Pueblo, b. 1973, Corn Maidens #13, 2009. Heard Museum purchase, 4582-2
  • A small brown jar with a flat lip on a white background.
    Sarafina Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo, 1863-1949, Jar, 1905. Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection, 513P
  • A plate with a picture of a city and cars.
    Susan Folwell, Santa Clara Pueblo, b. 1970, Rez Life, 2000. Gift of Neil and Sarah Berman, 4391-18
  • A black rounded jar on a white background.
    Margaret Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo, 1904-2001, Jar, 1925. Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection, 603P
  • A brown and black jar on a white background.
    Nampeyo or Rachel Nampeyo, Hopi-Tewa, 1860-1942 and 1903-1985, Jar, c. 1930. Gift of William and Louise McGee, 4054-1
  • A red jar with sculpted birds and designs on it.
    Tammy Garcia, Santa Clara Pueblo, b. 1969, Jar, 1995. Heard Museum purchase, 3557-1
  • A tan pottery form reminiscent of a conch shell.
    Jody Folwell, Santa Clara Pueblo, b. 1942, Pottery form, 1990s. Gift of Neil and Sarah Berman, 4391-8
  • A jar with a woman's face painted on it.
    Virgil Ortiz, Cochiti Pueblo, b. 1969, Jar, 2008. Gift of Stephen and Lynda Nacht
  • A black jar with a high neck and designs on it.
    Maria Martinez and Julian Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1887-1980 and 1885-1943, Jar, c. 1935. Heard Museum purchase, NA-SW-Si-A10-2
  • A white and black jar with designs on it.
    Artist once known, Zuni Pueblo, Kiapkwa polychrome jar, 1830-1840. Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection, 398P
  • A jar with a red, black, and white flower design on it.
    Tsayutitsa, Zuni Pueblo, c. 1887-1959, Jar, c. 1930. Gift of Valley National Bank, NA-SW-Zu-A7-23