Zia Pueblo is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is situated atop a small mesa that provides a spectacular view of the surrounding Nacimiento Mountains. This Keres-speaking Pueblo has a population of seven hundred. Prior to European contact, its population stood at some twenty thousand. Zia Pueblo is the birthplace of the ancient sun symbol, displaying rays radiating in each of the traditional four directions from a central sun. In the 1920s the emblem was placed on New Mexico’s state flag, and it remains there today.
Potters from Zia Pueblo are skilled at making strong, fairly thin-walled pottery, often decorated with the Zia roadrunner in typical roadrunner poses. Other popular designs include geometric patterns, rainbows and flowers. The very distinctive Zia pottery has always been a popular item of trade with neighboring Pueblos.
The surface of Zia pottery can feel slightly grainy to the touch due to the crushed basalt rock that is used as temper. Popular designs include rainbows, flowers and geometric patterns. Typical colors include dark brown, creamy tan, ruddy red, black and white.