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Object Monday: Polychrome bowl by Robert Tenorio

Robert Tenorio Bowl (MMA 96.34.33)

Polychrome bowl by Robert Tenorio of Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo), ca. 1978.




This polychrome decorated ceramic bowl in the shape of a basket has an arched handle and two pouring spouts. It is decorated with geometric, floral, and animal designs on a white slip background, creating  a striking contrast to the bowl’s red base and interior.

Made by Robert Tenorio (b. 1950) of Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo), this vessel was awarded the First Premium Prize at the New Mexico State Fair in September 1978. Mary Ellen Blair purchased the piece at the Fair and donated it to the Maxwell Museum in 1996.

Robert Tenorio began learning pottery making at the age of ten and is known for polychrome pots in the traditional Santo Domingo style. His pieces are hand coiled and fired outdoors in an open kiln using cottonwood bark as fuel. He collects native clays and experiments with various materials and firing methods. Tenorio studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and has won various awards, including the Governor’s Award at Santa Fe Indian Market in 2000.

To learn more about Robert Tenorio and his pottery, check out this biography from the Wheelwright Museum:

Name: Bowl
Date: ca. 1978
Culture: Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
Artist: Robert Tenorio
Collection: Ethnology
Object: 96.34.33
Post by: Lauren Fuka