Art of the Americas to World War I
- Pueblo architecture and its relationship to place
- Pottery and tourism: Pueblo culture and the lure of the Southwest
- Puebloan: Maria Martinez, Black-on-black ceramic vessel
- Julian Martinez, Buffalo Dancers
- Acoma polychrome water jar
- Nampeyo, Polacca polychrome water jar
- White Ogre Tihu (Katsina Figure)
- Navajo Belt
- Awa Tsireh’s Pottery Makers
This type of belt was originally worn by Navajo men, but today by men and women, both Native and non-Native. The belt has eight domed conchas (literally "shells"), made from silver coins decorated with punched and stamped designs round the edges, cut-out diamond centers for the strap, and a silver buckle.
The Navajo learnt silver working from Mexican silversmiths while imprisoned by the U.S. Army at Bosque Redondo, on the eastern plains of New Mexico. Thousands of Navajo people had been starved into submission and forced to march to Bosque Redondo in the winter of 1864, a distance of over 350 miles from their lands in the north-western New Mexico Territory.
Despite the Indians' labor at planting crops, digging irrigation ditches and building housing, nothing seemed to work. Drought, hail, and alkaline river water created severe living conditions for the nearly 9,000 captives. Wood was scarce; Comanche raided the livestock, and food was in short supply. In 1868, the army finally admitted the failure of the Bosque Redondo, and the Navajo negotiated a treaty with the government acknowledging their sovereignty over their homelands.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts (London, The British Museum Press, 1999).
© Trustees of the British Museum
Want to join the conversation?
- Is it possible to buy artwork from Navajo artists and craftsmen and craftswomen working on these sorts of beautiful silver belts and the like to this day?
I want one! I also would like to financially support this people that clearly got screwed over by Imperialistic colonizers time and again!(4 votes)
- Check the source; cheap reproductions/knock-offs come in from other countries and do not benefit Native Americans. Native Americans, especially Navaho produce some wonderful silver and turquoise work.(2 votes)
- Why were they imprisoned? is this like typical settlers wanting the land, and everyone gets really mad, and the army apprehends the 'troublemakers'?(0 votes)
- I want one to they are so cool looking huh probably cost a fortune.......(0 votes)
- given the amount of work by a craftsman or woman, a real artist, the cost of this item probably reflects its true value.(1 vote)
- Was Comanche a disease or something?(0 votes)
- The Comanche are a Native American nation from the Great Plains. The name "Comanche" is from the Ute name for them, kimantsi (enemy). In their own language, the Comanche call themselves Numinu (the people). Most Comanche speak English today, only about 1% of Comanche speak their own language.(0 votes)