Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turkey Season

For centuries turkeys have played an important role in the lives of Native Americans. Besides providing a source of meat, their feathers were used to stabilize arrows and decorate ceremonial dress. The spurs on the legs of wild tom turkeys were used as projectiles on arrowheads. There is no definite proof of the 1st Thanksgiving dinner in the autumn of 1621 when some 90 hungry Pilgrims and Native Americans are said to have gathered in grand celebration. Turkey was probably not among the meat dishes served. A first hand account pened by the leader of the colony stated that the food included, ducks, geese, venison, and fish. For omnivores turkey consumption season extension extends through Christmas in large part thanks to Charles Dickens' The Christmas Story.

Our beloved Wild Turkey as depicted by the Zuni artist Dale Edaakie in the buckle /bolo set as shown here nearly followed the DoDo bird to extinction, but thanks to convervation repopulation programs it survives in relative abundance in all states except Alaska.

The Zuni often celebrate birds in their art although I rarely see the turkey incorporated in their jewelry. This sterling silver creation set with multiple stones and in etched in fine creative detal should be worn with pride and should appreciate reliably in value in the years ahead. Cost $769.00.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Spiders

Spider Woman is one of the important deities of the Navajo. She is most honored for saving the ancient Navajo people from free roaming monsters. Spider Rock is one of the most awesome sights in the world. It stands in dignity some 800 ft above the canyon floor in Arizona's Canyon de Chelly National Park, which is part of the Navajo Nation. I do not know what inspires E. Spencer to make these sterling spiders, but I suspect his motives are ancient in origin and not from their adopted Halloween Night which is vigorously celebrated throughout Indian land. The sterling silver pin/pendant spiders you see in the image here range in price from $15 to $69. They go well especially with high fashion.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dale Edaakie's Bird Bolo and Buckles

Dale Edaakie's Zuni inlay work is simply outstanding. To learn more about him refer to his biography at the American Masters of Stone website. The buckles measure 3 x 2 1/8 inch. Each sterling silver buckle bolo set sells for $729.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paul J. Begay's Tobacco Flask

His hallmark is "PJ Begay." I've run across his fine work frequently and I've occasionally bought and sold some of his bracelets. He once worked for the late Harry Morgan and was no doubt influenced by Harry's technic and old style revival work. Even though Mr. Begay lives in Gallup, we've not crossed paths, but I hope to meet him in the near future now that he has risen to the top tier of my list of outstanding Navajo smiths. My interest in his work was heightened early this week when I was shown the canteen picured above. Such containers were historically created to be used as tobacco flasks, but the market for those is severly diminished, but a good whisky flask still has great market appeal. It is generally only the best of smiths who are willing to craft canteens. This canteen holds 140ml and measures approximately 2 3/4 inches in diameter, 1 1/4 inches in thickness, and is crowned by a #8 Nevada mine turquoise gem stone. Price $1000.