A TALE OF THREE TRIBES: AMERICAN INDIAN ARTS & CRAFTS OF THE SOUTH WEST
The exhibition features rare items of the culture and life of three American Indian tribes.
The Navajo represent the largest Indian tribe in the United States. Navajos are known as expert silver-smiths and weavers. Weaving is done from the center outwards in a long spiral. The Navajo spiral is a symbol which represents life, the passing of generations, and the path the sun takes around the world.
The Hopi live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Kachina dolls are perhaps the most famous craft from Hopi culture. These dolls are carved typically from cottonwood root, and traditionally used to instruct young girls and new brides about katsinas or katsinam, the immortal beings that control the natural world and society, and act as messengers between humans and the spirit world.
The Zuni tribe numbers slightly less than 8,000 people. Many live in the Zuni Indian Reservation located primarily in Western New Mexico. Many contemporary Zuni rely on the sale of traditional arts and crafts. Fetishes – small carved animal figures – are used in everyday life to borrow those traits for which the animals are known. For example, a horse fetish is carried for strength on long journeys.