"At the time of [European] contact, glaze-painted polished red or yellow pottery bowls and jars were made. Jars were squat and painted around the upper shoulder with a band subdivided into four panels; bowls had similar bandson their inside walls and minor patterns on exteriors. Abstract bird and feather designs were common.
The dense, red local clays make heavy, strong waterproof vessels that were desirable trade items. By the 18th century, glazes were replaced by black mineral paints and jars had low centers of gravity, almost no necks, and sloping bodies used as the majro design fields. Large abstract bird and feather motifs were common and few references to ancient black-on-white designs are seen. Zia people made large, spherical storage jars during the 18th and 19th centuries, and large dough bowls after 1800. Smaller ones were made after about 1850, and jar shapes changed to resemble those of Acoma and Laguna by the 1880s.
The earlier spherical jars often used subdivided band patterns on their upper bodies framed by narrow bands with arched cloud designs. Most paintings were red outlined with black on chalky white surfaces and underbodies were polished red. The smaller vessels of a later time often used overall designs on chalky white fields dominated by curvilinear elements such as large, swooping polished red or yellow rainbow-like bands. Some were subdivided into two or three horizontal design zones. About 1880, floral and bird motifs and other designs similar to those used at Acoma and Laguna became common."
-J.J. Brody, Voices in Clay: Pueblo Pottery from the Edna M. Kelly Collection