Links & Information
Museums with collections of Native American art
Native American Arts Associations
Native American History
Native American Stories for Kids
Learn more on our Storytellers page
Native American Tribes & Pueblos
Tribe is a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.
Native American Jewelry & Carving Components
Native American Jewelry & Carving Images
Native American Jewelry & Carving Methods
Josh Simpson — Glassmaker
"Old Pawn""Old Pawn" refers to jewelry that was pawned and resold many years ago. Most pieces were not signed, and only once the collecting boom started did artists sign their work. So most old pawn is not identifiable in terns of who made it. Many people prefer to collect old pawn rather than modern work because they know the silver is probably pure, the stones are untreated, and the workmanship, perhaps rougher without modern tools and techniques, has a rustic quality. Visit the Ugly Otter Trading Post, a website full of pieces called "old pawn."
Zuni Fetish CarvingsToday the word fetish has many connotations. Here it means “spiritual amulet”.
In making a fetish carving the artist experiences a connection between himself and the animal. A personal connection with nature and with art is an integral part of the Zuni religion. They believe the elements of nature, including all the animals around us, are sources of spiritual guidance and inspiration. A stone that appears to be in the shape of a bear may hold the energy of "bear spirit". Holding or wearing such a stone brings that energy closer to us.
Traditionally, the artist carves the stone in order to bring out the spirit that already resides there, honoring the nature of the animal. The "heart line" of inlaid stone or silver that sometimes appears from the mouth to the heart/lung area of an animal symbolizes the breath or life energy. A small bundle or arrowhead tied to its back with sinew or beading cord is an offering to that animal. Examine them and you will sense the inner life that makes each miniature sculpture unique. It is as if they speak to us, or come alive in the night.
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If you are interested in the pieces on this or any other page, please contact us by email for an appointment