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Vintage Laguna Pueblo Pottery from the Edwin L. Wade, Ph.D Collection...
comments by Dr. Wade

Here is an unusual, inscribed Laguna Polychrome, c. 1915

Vintage Laguna Pottery from the Ed Wade Collection

I have always been drawn to the unusual, the exception, or oddity. Such differences tweak the imagination and challenge stereotypes. This lovely jar provides exactly that type of intrigue.

At first glance it reads as an Acoma olla with a predictable shape and deep lustrous painted pigments. But on the next glance one sees something different. Immediately one notices that the base of the jar is white, and, upon a closer look that it is polished but not slipped. Now the inquisitive mind is alerted to investigate further and see if other differences might exist.

And they do.

The design upon the under-body of the jar consisting of black elongated mirror-imaged triangles is a standard Acoma composition, but upon further scrutiny the richly red painted triangles are not. It’s not so much the triangles themselves that leap away from tradition but the serial repetition of this motif around the mid-body of the jar. The strength yet simplicity of this composition is more attuned to San Ildefonso design than the Rococo embellishment of the Acoma. Stacked atop the triangles are diagonal rectangles internally divided into additional black painted rectangles. This is not Acoma thinking and more closely reflects Zia compositions.

So what is the origin of this vessel? The answer is that there is no answer. The artist’s identity remains a mystery. However the clay, tempering, pigments and all other technical aspects of the jar are Acoma or Laguna, suggesting the artist may have married into the community from another Pueblo and learned design tradition. If that is so, she honored both her early and her later life by allowing an aesthetic confluence of beauty to flow under her hand.


Further humanizing this wonder vessel is that it was a gift from the frontier Southwest. Inscribed in pencil upon the under-body of the jar is “With best wishes from Mrs. Morton, Jim Panuck to the Strauses.” Good friends indeed!

Vintage Laguna Pottery

Bottom View

Vintage Laguna Pottery Circa 1915

Top View

Vintage Laguna Pottery Circa 1915

Side Views

Vintage Laguna Pottery Circa 1915

Vintage Laguna Pottery Circa 1915

Vintage Laguna Pottery Circa 1925 from the Dr. Ed Wade Collection

This is a large pot measuring about 10" tall by 10" in diameter

It is in Good Condition. There are numerous tiny chips gathered over the years but there are no distracting marks or nasty blemishes. Also, this pot is completely intact having never been broken, cracked or repaired. When you lightly tap its rim you hear proof of its integrity as it softly sings.

Cracked and repaired pots do not have this sweet sound but rather issue forth a dull thud.