Is it possible to get another thunderbird like the vintage P133? the new thunderbirds do not look like this one. Thank you very much.
Navajo Sterling Silver Vintage Thunderbird Pendant #P133
These wonderful old style pins are made from heavy gauge sterling silver plate; hand cut, deeply hand-stamped, smoothed and polished leaving some areas intentionally oxidized or darkened. A polished turquoise stone is set in a handcut smooth bezel. A twisted sterling silver rope encircles the bezel. Albert Cleveland typically uses King Manassas turquoise, known for its brilliant greens with gold or brown matrix. They have a locking pin finding. Very retro.
Albert Cleveland is of the Dashchanii clan and was born on the Navajo reservation near Mt. Taylor. He and his wife live near Gallup, New Mexico. His brother is Bobby Cleveland and his parents Etta and Philip Cleveland. Cleveland signs his pieces AC if he works on them alone or AJC when his wife Jacqualine works with him. Albert Cleveland works in a retro style, reminiscent of the 1940′s curio shop work which featured Native American symbols such as Eagles, Thunderbirds, Bears, Waterbirds and other animals.
I was appreciating your art pictures and comments on the symbology, just wondering if you know of more about the Thunderbird symbol.
Thanks for sharing!
Legend of the Thunderbird
The Native American Thunderbird legend has been recorded through drawings, cave paintings, oral history, totem poles, and as a design element in many Native American artifacts and pieces of art for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Whether the symbol is specific to the Pacific Northwest Tribes and Plains Indians or is a cross-tribal symbol is debated.
At least 3 tribes have words for Thunderbird:
“The Thunderbird’s name comes from the common belief that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. The Lakota name for the Thunderbird is Wakį́yą, a word formed from kįyą́, meaning “winged”, and wakhą́, “sacred”. The Kwakwaka’wakw have many names for the Thunderbird and the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) called him Kw-Uhnx-Wa. The Ojibwa word for a thunderbird that is closely associated with thunder is animikii, while large thunderous birds are known as binesi.”
Now whether the legend was borne from the sighting of a very large prehistoric bird or whether it is completely mythological is also unclear.
There have been some claimed sightings of large Thunderbirds in this century.
But some things seem to be common in all accounts of the Thunderbird legend.
The Thunderbird is large – his wing feathers are said to be 5 feet long giving the bird a wingspan (tip to tip) of 12 feet or more. Some reports say up to a 20 feet wingspan.
The Thunderbird is said to be involved in whipping up weather – thunderstorms, rain, wind, hail, snow and tornados and is capable of flashing lightning from its eyes.
Native American Symbols
Water Bird, Peyote Bird, Thunderbird
The Water Bird is a symbol of the renewal of life, rainy seasons, rivers, distant travel, distant vision & wisdom. It is often also referred to as the Peyote Bird because the Water Bird plays a significant part in the Native American Indian Church Peyote meetings and, in fact, since the early 1900′s has been the symbol of the NAC.
The Peyote/Water Bird is not a Southwest tradition, but one of the Plains Indians. The Peyote Bird is connected with lightning, thunder and visions. Those who dream of the thunder beings will become Heyokas, those who do things backwards, upside down, or opposite. This is a Lakota way of being. It is part of the medicine of the Heyoka to remind us that we should not take ourselves too seriously – that’s why Heyoka is often translated as the “sacred clown”.
The Thunderbird is a cross-cultural symbol of the Southwest, Plains and Pacific Northwest tribes as well as in the non-Native world. Much is written about the origin of the symbol and its significance. It has been suggested by some that the symbol was borrowed by Native American artisans from the white man’s medal dies. Others claim the Thunderbird has always lived in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. There, carved totem poles are often topped with a Thunderbird with outstretched wings. Looking at a Thunderbird, it is easy to see why it symbolizes power, strength and nobility.