Black on gunmetal black jar with band of feathers design
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Tonita Roybal, San Ildefonso, Black on gunmetal black jar with band of feathers design
Tonita Roybal
San Ildefonso
6 in H by 8 1/2 in Dia
rhsih9110
$ 2900
Black on gunmetal black jar with band of feathers design
Condition: Very good
Signature: Tonita

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Tonita Roybal

San Ildefonso
Interlocking scroll design on a gunmetal black on black jar
 

Tonita Martinez Roybal (1892-1945) was the mother of Santana Roybal of Adam and Santana Martinez fame. Tonita learned to make pottery the traditional way from her mother, Dominguita Pino, and she passed that on to her daughter Santana. Tonita was producing pots for the marketplace from 1909 until she passed on in 1945.

Tonita worked mostly with redware and blackware jars and bowls. During her life she developed methods of using matte white and matte red paints on redware pots. She is probably most famous for her black-on-red and black-on-black jars and her polychrome redware. She also attained a measure of fame for her participation in pottery making demonstrations with Maria Martinez, Maximiliana Montoya, Ramona Gonzales and Desideria Montoya at the Museum of New Mexico in 1909. Tonita was one of the finest potters of the twentieth century. Her pottery rivaled Maria's. However, Maria did not paint her pieces while Tonita did. Tonita may have painted some pieces for Maria. Maria and Tonita were also able to achieve the finest "deep luster" polish on their blackware.

Tonita's first husband was Alfredo Montoya, a painter whose mother, Nicolasa Peña Montoya, first encouraged Maria Martinez to make pots. Painting pots for several women potters, Alfredo was especially known for his birds, animals and flowers. After his passing Tonita is known to have spent time studying the work of Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo of Hano. Perhaps in her process of creating at least one Sikyátki-style Hopi pot (now in the collection of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe) she cross-pollinated ideas with some Hopi potters. It is felt that she may have had some influence in the development of black on red pottery at Hopi which became more popular during the 1920's.

In 1920 she married Juan Cruz Roybal and the year after, he began painting some of Tonita's pots. After 1930 he was painting most of her pots for her. It was in 1935 that he began painting some Mimbres-inspired designs on her pots.

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San Ildefonso Pueblo

Sacred Black Mesa
Black Mesa at San Ildefonso Pueblo

San Ildefonso Pueblo is located about twenty miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, mostly on the eastern bank of the Rio Grande. Although their ancestry has been traced as far back as abandoned pueblos in the Mesa Verde area in southwestern Colorado, the most recent ancestral home of the people of San Ildefonso is in the area of Bandelier National Monument, the prehistoric villages of Tyuonyi, Otowi, Navawi and Tsankawi specifically. The area of Tsankawi abuts the reservation on its northwest side.

The San Ildefonso name was given to the village in 1617 when a mission church was established. Before then the village was called Powhoge, "where the water cuts through" (in Tewa). Today's pueblo was established as long ago as the 1300's and when the Spanish arrived in 1540 they estimated the village population at about 2,000.

That village mission was destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and when Don Diego de Vargas returned to reclaim the San Ildefonso area in 1694, he found virtually the entire tribe on top of nearby Black Mesa. After an extended siege the two sides negotiated a treaty and the people returned to their village. However, the next 250 years were not good for them. Finally, the Spanish swine flu pandemic of 1918 reduced the tribe's population to about 90. The tribe's population has increased to more than 600 today but the only economic activity available for most on the pueblo involves the creation of art in one form or another. The only other jobs are off-pueblo. San Ildefonso's population is small compared to neighboring Santa Clara Pueblo, but the pueblo maintains its own religious traditions and ceremonial feast days.

San Ildefonso has produced fine ceramic art since early pre-Columbian times. The pueblo is most known for being the home of the most famous Pueblo Indian potter, Maria Martinez. Many other excellent potters have produced quality pottery from this pueblo, too, among them: Blue Corn, Tonita and Juan Roybal, Dora Tse Pe and Rose Gonzales. Of course the descendants of Maria Martinez are still important pillars of San Ildefonso's pottery tradition. Maria's influence reached far and wide, so far and wide that even Juan Quezada, founder of the Mata Ortiz pottery renaissance in Chihuahua, Mexico, came to San Ildefonso to learn from her.

San Ildefonso Pueblo location map

For more info:
at Wikipedia
official website
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, by Daniel Gibson
Photo is in the public domain

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Maria Martinez Family Tree

Disclaimer: This "family tree" is a best effort on our part to determine who the potters are in this family and arrange them in a generational order. The general information available is questionable so we have tried to show each of these diagrams to living members of each family to get their input and approval, too. This diagram is subject to change should we get better info.


Santiago Peña (b. 1846) & Antonio Domingo Peña (b. 1841)
Family members who became potters:
  • Nicolasa Peña Montoya (1863-1904) & Juan Cruz Montoya
    Family members who became potters:
    • Tonita Martinez Roybal (1892-1945) & Alfredo Montoya
    • Isabel Montoya (1898-1996) & Benjamin Atencio
      Family members who became potters:
      • Angelita Atencio Sanchez (1927-1993) & Santiago Sanchez
        Family members who became potters:
        • Sandra Sanchez Chaparro
      • Gilbert Atencio (1930-1995)
      • Tony Atencio (b. 1928)
      • Helen Gutierrez (1935-1993) & Frank Gutierrez (Santa Clara)
        Family members who became potters:
        • Carol & James Gutierrez
        • Katherine Gutierrez & Ernest J. Naranjo
        • Rose Gutierrez
    • Rayita Montoya
    • Santana Montoya & Antonio Vigil
      Family members who became potters:
      • Lupita Vigil Martinez (b. 1918) & Anselmo Martinez (1909-1965)
  • Reyes Peña (d. 1909) & Tomas Montoya (d. 1914)
    Family members who became potters:
    • Desideria Montoya (1889-1982)
    • Maria Montoya Martinez (1887-1980) & Julian Martinez (1884-1943)
      Family members who became potters:
      • Adam Martinez (1903-2000) and Santana Martinez (1909-2002)
        Family members who became potters:
        • George Martinez (b. 1943) & Pauline Martinez (Santa Clara, b. 1950)
        • Anita Martinez (d. 1992) & Pino Martinez
          Family members who became potters:
          • Barbara Tahn-Moo-Whe Gonzales (b. 1947) & Robert Gonzales
            Family members who became potters:
            • Aaron Gonzales (b. 1971)
            • Brandon Gonzales (b. 1983)
            • Cavan Gonzales (b. 1970)
            • Derek Gonzales (b. 1986)
          • Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez (b. 1950) & Gilbert Sanchez
            Family members who became potters:
            • Wayland Sanchez
          • Evelyn Than-Povi Garcia
          • Peter Pino
        • Viola Martinez/Sunset Cruz
          Family members who became potters:
          • Beverly Martinez (1960-1987)
          • Marvin Martinez (b. 1964) and Frances Martinez
          • Johnny Cruz Jr. (b. 1975)
      • Popovi Da (1921-1971)
        Family members who became potters:
        • Tony Da (1940-2008)
    • Maximiliana Montoya (1885-1955) & Cresencio Martinez (1879-1918)
    • Juanita Vigil (1898-1933) & Romando Vigil (1902-1978)
      Family members who became potters:
      • Carmelita Vigil (1925-1999) & Nicholas Cata
        Family members who became potters:
        • Martha Apple Leaf (b. 1950)
          Family members who became potters:
          • Eric Fender (b. 1970)
        • Gloria Maxey (d. 1999)
          Family members who became potters:
          • Angelina Maxey (b. 1970)
          • Jessie Maxey (b. 1972)
        Carmelita Vigil (1925-1999) & Carlos Dunlap (d. 1971)
        Family members who became potters:
        • Carlos Sunrise Dunlap (1958-1981)
        • Cynthia Star Flower Dunlap (b. 1959)
        • Jeannie Mountain Flower Dunlap (b. 1953)
        • Linda Dunlap (b. 1955)
      • Albert Vigil (b. 1927) & Josephine Cordova (b. 1927, Taos)
  • Philomena Peña & Juan Gonzales & Ramona Sanchez (Robert's mother)
    Family members who became potters:
    • Robert Gonzales & Rose (Cata) Gonzales (San Juan)
      Family members who became potters:
      • Tse-Pe & Dora Tse-Pe
        Family members who became potters:
        • Candace Tse-Pe
        • Gerri Tse-Pe
        • Irene Tse-Pe
      • Tse-Pe (1940-2000) & Jennifer Tse-Pe (second wife, Santa Clara)
    • Oqwa Pi (Abel Sanchez)(1899-1971) & Tomasena (Cata) Sanchez (1903-1985, Rose Gonzales' sister)
      Family members who became potters:
         
        • Russell Sanchez (b. 1966)
    • Louis Wo-Peen Gonzales & Juanita Wo-Peen Gonzales (1909-1988)
      Family members who became potters:
      • Adelphia Martinez
      • Lorenzo Gonzales (adopted) (1922-1995)
      • Blue Corn (Lorenzo's sister) (1921-1999)
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