The Emergence of Navajo Polychrome Ceramics: The Social Implications within the Technological Style of Gobernador Polychrome Pottery

The production of Navajo Gobernador Polychrome pottery during the 17th and 18th centuries marks a significant deviation from the well-established Navajo gray ware pottery technology of northwest New Mexico.  Originally attributed to Pueblo refugee potters living with Navajo families following de Vargas’ Reconquista of 1692, it is now accepted that Gobernador Polychrome pottery is a distinctly Navajo creation that predates the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.  Notably, the rise of this new Navajo ceramic style circa A.D. 1625 echoes similar technological and stylistic developments in Eastern Pueblo pottery traditions that extended west to the Hopi Mesas as the 17th century progressed. This pottery type supports a story of Navajo participation in an anti-colonial ideology that spread throughout the northern Southwest during the colonization of Northern New Mexico and is expressed through ceramic media ahead of the Pueblo Revolt.