Southwest Traditions:
Black on White - the other blue-green

When you look at these pots, what color do you see? Most of us see only black and white.

But some archaeologists believe that finely drawn parallel, diagonal black lines on white pots—called hachure—symbolized blue-green to the people who made and used these vessels a thousand years ago. They did not have blue or green paint that would survive the firing process, so created another way to cover their pottery with this important color.

Pitchers with this shape are commonly called “duck pots” because the body of the vessel looks like the body of a duck. These pitchers were most likely used to store and pour water. (20105/11, Origin/Artist: Ancestral Pueblo)