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Collector Pottery


Fine Pueblo Pottery

Fine Pueblo Pottery


INDIVIDUAL ZIA POTTERY



Sofia and Rafel Medina Magnificent Zia Olla

This large Zia Pueblo pottery jar was made by Sofia Medina and decorated by her husband, Rafael medina. Sofia’s pottery making skills are world renown and Rafael was an award-winning painter.

Sofia Medina (1932 - 2010) was born to Andres Pino (1881-1947) and Juana Lupita Toribio Pino at Zia Pueblo in 1932. Sofia Pino Medina married into the Medina family in 1948. She and her new husband, Rafael Medina (1929-1998), lived with his grandmother, Trinidad Medina, who taught Sofia the techniques of potting. Her mentor, Trinidad, was one of the most talented potters at Zia Pueblo. Sofia learned well and produced quality wares throughout her life. Sofia used only natural materials in her pottery, including the pigments for painting.

Sofia used a tan slip on her jars and stone-polished it to a beautiful silky sheen. The design is executed in a soft rose-red slip and brown mineral paint. Sofia Medina was renown for her traditional style Zia pottery as well as creating very large ollas. Sofia also made smaller polychrome jars, dough bowls and chili bowls. Her favorite designs were rainbows, roadrunners, kiva steps and clouds. Each piece is coil built, painted with native clays and native fired. Sofia won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market and her work can be found in museums nationwide such as the Peabody Essex, SAR and the Heard Museum.

Sofia was one of the exhibitors at the "One Space/Three Visions" exhibition in 1979 at the Albuquerque Museum. Her work can also be found in many private collections around the world and at the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Peabody Museum at Harvard University in Boston.

Sofia passed in 2010, less than a year after being given a Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award during the SWAIA Honoring Reception at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino on June 4, 2009.

Award winning Zia Pueblo artist Rafael Medina was known for his exceptionally fine and skillfully illustrated paintings depicting ceremonial scenes from his native nation.

Clara Lee Tanner, in her book Southwest Indian Painting, stated that Rafael Medina studied at Albuquerque under Velino Herrera (Ma Pe Wi) and José Rey Toledo. She does not state that he attended the Albuquerque Indian School but perhaps that is where he studied before entering the Santa Fe Indian School. Neither Dorothy Dunn nor Tanner is clear about that. Medina attended the Santa Fe Indian School after the departure of Dunn and during the tenure of art teacher Gerónima Montoya, probably entering school in the early 1940s. Following high school, he attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

Rafael Medina demonstrated early in his life that he was a talented painter, following in the footsteps of Zia’s most famous painter of the time, Ma Pe Wi. This painting by Medina is softer in tone than his later works. His later works are brighter as if painted with acrylic paints. In traditional Santa Fe Indian School style, he painted the main subject without ground plane and background. One cannot be not impressed with the amazing detail of the costuming of the dancer. It is such detail that gave Medina his reputation.’’

After his marriage to Sofia, Rafael applied his skills to painting Sofia’s jars. His base of white or black acrylic and his vibrant colors was a first in native American pottery decoration. White dancers and other figures against a black background give the pottery an otherworldly aura.

source: Adobe Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.

  • Item No.: 1891 Zia Pottey
  • Artist: Sofia and Rafael Medina
  • Size: 12.5 in H x 12.5 in W
  • Price: 10,000




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