North America

In the Mississippi Valley the Mound Builders of the 1st millennium bc produced painted, modeled, and incised ware. In the Southwest, fine pottery was made by the ancestors of the Pueblo peoples - notably the red-on-buff ware (ad600?-900?) of the Hohokam and the polychrome ware (1300 and later) of the Anasazi, both adorned with human and animal figures; and the delightful, distinctive Mimbres pottery (1000-1200) of the Mogollon culture, with black-on-white geometric designs, birds, bats, frogs, and ceremonial scenes.

The ancient tradition has been carried on into modern Pueblo pottery, notably in the work of Maria Martinez, who is widely known for her burnished black ware. Pottery making is an old and respected tradition among the Zuni people of North America. For example storage jar from the early 1900s was made using the “coil” method, in which long, thin coils of clay are formed around a flat, circular base and built up to create the shape of the jar, then smoothed and glazed. The white background with black and brown geometric designs is characteristic of Zuni pottery.