EXAMINE THE SHAPE OF THE POT. Is it balanced and pleasing? Handmade pottery is not exactly even. However, it should be evenly thick or thin. Do the walls or base of the pot feel overly heavy or light? Compare it with other pieces.
EXAMINE THE FINISH OF THE POT. Is it well polished, shiny, smooth? Are there any tiny blisters or lumps visible on the surface? Is the rim smooth? Can you feel the coils on the inside?
EXAMINE THE DESIGN OF THE POT. Does the design fit and enhance the shape of the pot? Is it carefully applied? Is it artistic?
CHECK FOR THE SIGNATURE. Signatures are important because they indicate the pride and prestige of their creator. On the other hand, the basic criteria should be your reaction to the piece. Some artists do not sign their pottery.
IS IT AUTHENTIC, HANDMADE? Decorated greenware (ceramic porcelain) and whiteware (plaster of paris type product) are not acceptable as traditional handmade Indian pottery. They are pots thrown on a potters wheel or molded (slip-cast). Lightness in weight, exactness in shape, a shiny glaze and a high, thin ringing
sound when thumped with your finger are features of these types of pottery. (Authentic Indian pottery should have a clear ring when thumped gently with the finger.) Prices are generally lower than traditionally made Indian pottery. To assure yourself of a quality product, get help from a reputable dealer and read as much as possible on the subject. When you purchase one of these coveted pieces of American Indian art, either from the artist or reputable dealer.