Featured Alfred Aguilar pottery bowl

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by 916Bulldogs123, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. 916Bulldogs123

    916Bulldogs123 Well-Known Member

    Hi all, i picked this piece up at my local thrift today and i had a few questions. i did find some about the artist and his family, but was hoping someone here might fill me in a little more. it is approx 4" wide and 3 1/2" tall. It is signed Alfred Aguilar, San Ildefonso Pueblo, NM. on the bottom. Alfred is 84 years old now if he is still alive. What is the style of bowl and what is the glaze called.
    Is it Navajo?


  2. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    It is san Ildefonso Pueblo Native American pottery. It is the famous black on black pottery from the region which includes the possibly better known Santa Clara Pueblo pottery.
  3. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

  4. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

  5. 916Bulldogs123

    916Bulldogs123 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Brad.
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  6. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    In answer to the second part of your question, there is no glaze involved. Traditional black-on-black San Ildefonso pottery is never glazed. The shiny surface is a result of burnishing, polishing the leather-hard clay with a smooth stone stone, before it is fired.

    The black color is a result of the reduction firing technique, where the pot is traditionally-fired in an outdoor bonfire. The reduction part refers to the fact that the amount of oxygen allowed to reach the pot during the firing is reduced, or cut off. This causes a chemical reaction in the clay itself, which changes what would otherwise be red clay, to black. If oxygen reaches the pot, it remains red, if it is reduced, the pot turns black.
  7. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    Just a further bit of information (my "rant", if you will.)

    Since no glaze is used on burnished pottery, it is not waterproof, plus the surface can easily be scuffed, scratched, or damaged.

    If tape or a gummed price sticker is put on the pot, for example, when it is removed it will usually take off part of the unglazed surface, probably the most common way to decrease the value of burnished pottery.

    Most serious collectors will not even buy a piece with a gummed sticker on it. Even if the price tag can be removed without obvious damage, the gum has already seeped into the surface, and will attract dust and dirt, showing up later as irreversible damage.

    Unfortunately, it's one of the most-common mistakes general antiques dealers make. Unlike glazed pottery, burnished pottery should never have tape or a gummed price tag put on it.
  8. 916Bulldogs123

    916Bulldogs123 Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much Taupou. Is there any way to remove the light scratches and scuffs? They really only can be seen using the flash and I didn't notice them till I took these pictures.

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  9. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, there is no way to effectively restore a burnished pot, once it is damaged. Any "restoration" would negatively affect the value anyway.

    It's better to just leave it untouched. The best thing one can do is to avoid any further damage, by preventing scuffs, scratches, rubbing, or contact with water, oils, and adhesives.

    A certain amount of wear is acceptable to most collectors, especially on a piece made by a noted potter, or on older pieces.
  10. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    There's an unfortunate red reflection in those photos that ends up looking like damage.

    But it's a nice pot.
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  11. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    This has been mentioned before, but probably deserves repeating. The absolutely best book on the subject, which should be on the bookshelf of anyone who collects, deals with, or may do so some day, is Southwestern Pottery, Anasazi to Zuni by Allan Hayes and John Blom.

    Even if you have the first edition, I'd say you need the second edition, published in 2015, as well. It is "revised and expanded" to include additional up-to-date examples, and more valuable information. It can answer just about every question one may have about the topic.
  12. 916Bulldogs123

    916Bulldogs123 Well-Known Member

    It's actually gray with the design being black. But the reflective properties of this piece makes very hard to photograph. here is outside with no flash. and the card that was inside it. now the red reflection is from my fence behind it. not a good choice i'm guessing.

    atree 20256.jpg
    atree 20247.jpg
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  13. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    For years, Alfred Aguilar and his brother have had the gallery/gift shop on the east side of the plaza in San Ildefonso. I haven't been there for a few years, but assume and hope it is still there.
  14. Coral Bead

    Coral Bead New Member

    Hi! So Alfred is my grandpa. He is still alive and doing well, still making pots but not as often as he used to. The shop is still around, same place it's been. The other people who've commented seem to have explained it all, pottery-firing wise.
    Jivvy, Figtree3, LIbraryLady and 5 others like this.
  15. judy

    judy Well-Known Member

    Welcome to Antiquers Coral, and thank you for posting that your grandfather is still doing well and still active in his trade.
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  16. say_it_slowly

    say_it_slowly The worst prison is a closed heart

    Hi Coral and welcome! Your grandfather does nice work!
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  17. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    So glad to see you here! Welcome, and thank you for your update.

    I've been lucky enough to have a couple of pieces made by your grandfather, one of which has a special place in my living room, where I can see it every day. I'm glad to hear he is still making pots!
  18. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Coral Bead!
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  19. AuDragon

    AuDragon Well-Known Member

    Welcome Coral, and thanks for the post 916. This is a really lovely story and one of the things that makes this Forum so entertaining and informative. :)
    Bronwen and i need help like this.
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