Marie Zieu Chino (1907–1982) was a Native American potter from Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. Marie and her friends Lucy M. Lewis and Jessie Garcia are recognized as the three most important Acoma potters during the 1950s. Along with Juana Leno, they have been called "The Four Matriarchs" who "revived the ancient style of Acoma pottery." The inspiration for many designs used on their pottery were found on old potsherds gathered to use for temper. Together they led the revival of ancient pottery forms including the Mimbres, Tularosa and other various cultures in the Anasazi region. This revival spread to other potters who also accepted the old styles, which led to new innovative designs and variations of style and form.
In 1922, Marie won her first award at the Santa Fe Indian Market at the age of fifteen. She went on to receive numerous awards for her pottery from 1970-1982. In 1998 the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts recognized Marie with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Marie became particularly well known for her fine-line black-on-white pottery and vases with the step design. Her pots were distinctive in their complex geometric designs as well as the combination of life forms and abstract symbols. Some of her favorite designs include: Mimbres animals, Tularosa swirls, Acoma parrots, rainbows, bushes with berries, leaves, rain, clouds, lightning and fine-line snowflakes.
Marie was the matriarch of the Chino family of potters. She helped her children and grandchildren learn the fine art of pottery making and had many students. Marie had five daughters who were potters, "of whom Grace, Carrie and Rose achieved reputations as excellent potters." Pottery by her daughter Vera Chino is held by the Holmes Museum of Anthropology.
When Marie traveled to the Indian art shows or the Indian Market in Santa Fe, she often took her family with her. There they met people from around the world who loved to collect their pottery. This instilled a sense of pride and unity throughout the Chino family. Marie’s descendants have carried on the tradition of making fine Acoma pottery.
Marie's work is held by the Holmes Museum of Anthropology, the Spurlock Museum, and by the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.,
References and further reading
- Hayes, Allan; John Blom (1996). Southwestern pottery: Anasazi to Zuni. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Publishing. ISBN 9780873586566.
- Schaaf, Gregory. Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies. 2002.