The History of Native American Zuni Jewelry
Archeologists state that the Zuni people have been in their established part of North American for two millennia, having built pueblos and learned about the agriculture of their land. Native American Zuni jewelry is very prominent throughout their history and is still going very strong today.
Native American Zuni jewelry is designed for use as necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings among other pieces such as fetishes. These play a large part in Native American Zuni jewelry. They are stones or minerals such as turquoise that are carved or chipped away to form animals or deities for the Zuni people. With early Native American Zuni jewelry, the symbolism of the mineral and shape are very important to the art.
Native American Zuni Jewelry and the Navajo
The changes to Native American Zuni jewelry are drastic in that the Navajo who were once one of the tribes that would attack the Zuni, made peace with them and showed them the art of being a skilled silversmith. The process differs a bit from the Navajo in that all of the silver jewelry that is made to house turquoise is made with sets. Many have problems distinguishing the differences between the Navajo and Zuni jewelry.
When it comes to silver, One of the differences between Navajo and Native American Zuni jewelry is that Navajo silver is much heavier, The differences in Native American Zuni jewelry as it concerns the process is also in the casting. Zuni beliefs are embedded in the jewelry using one dominating symbol referred to as Knife Wing.
Knife wing is believed to be the protector of the Zuni people. He has wings made of razor sharp knives and is half man and half bird. Native American Zuni jewelry is shaped to form this character through its necklaces and fetishes. Even though the Navajo taught the act of smelting silver to them, there was still a lot of borrowed symbolism by the Navajo for their jewelry for some of their design work. This is normal in tribal trade customs or as a remote influence. Native American Zuni jewelry is one of the many southwestern Indian tribes that embraced turquoise and silver.
Native American Zuni Jewelry Today
The Zuni people are very active today. They make Native American Zuni jewelry provide for the tourist trade and are still very active silversmiths, sticking to a long time tradition that makes their pieces unique.
Native American Zuni jewelry is very much sought after in the Southwestern region by other artists for influences. Native American Zuni jewelry is used in rituals, ceremonies and for adornment. The Native American Zuni jewelry has a masterful quality to it that sets it apart from other work giving some insight into the history of this very pueblo Indian tribe.