Native American Hopi Overlay Symbols – Thanksgiving

Many Hopi symbols relate to nature. They depict plants, animals, feathers, land and rock formations, and weather…….including whirlwinds and especially clouds and rain which are so precious to the southwest cultures.

In addition, many Hopi designs are abstract. The beautiful Hopi necklace below shows a mixture of discernible symbols and abstract designs. What do you see? I’ll suggest what I see below.

Hopi Overlay Necklace

In the center of the above necklace is a large sunface which is a symbol of warmth and growth. When a sunface looks mask-like such as the one in this necklace, it is a sunface kachina – see the sunface kachina (shown below).

The head and headress of a Hopi Sunface Kachina

The next recognizable symbols on the two discs above the sunface are a corn plant in the middle, a hogan on the top, and a turkey across from one side to the other with his head on one side and his spread out fan tail on the other.

Turkey, also called Earth Eagle, is an important food source to the Pueblos and is mentioned in several Tewa Pueblo stories. Its feathers have many ritual uses. There is a Turkey Clan in one of the Hopi Phratries.

From Ancestral Art: In addition to hunting wild game, the Hopi raised domesticated turkeys. Given the number of turkey remains discovered, they must have been a food staple.

Turkey remains were found at Kokopnyama, an old Hopi ruin. Read more about the excavations here.

There are eleven bird kachinas for the chicken, duck, eagle, hummingbird, kit, mockingbird, owl, red-tailed hawk, roadrunner, snipe, and turkey. The turkey kachina uses turkey feathers to form a fan-shaped crest representing the spread tail of the male turkey.

In the six medallions above the turkey medallions, I think all or most are either landscape formations, stylized weather or abstract art. What do you think?

I’ve done some research on this piece found one like it on page 19 of “Indian Jewelry on the Market” Peter N. Schiffer, 1996 that says “A magnificent Hopi necklace with nine medallions. Klines Gallery $1200

 


The sterling silver medallions are beautiful and tell a unique story and are strung on a double set of sterling silver beads. Let me know what you see in this piece.

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving because I LOVE TURKEY (…and dressing) !!


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4 thoughts on “Native American Hopi Overlay Symbols – Thanksgiving

  1. That is a gorgeous, wonderful, necklace! I was going to ask who made it and if you’re selling it. Your comments about the use of nature are so apt.

    Today I was researching a Hopi bolo I bought which had a hallmark I couldn’t identify. I asked a knowledgable friend who identified the artist somehow. I don’t know how! On the internet I confirmed her identification through the hallmark, which held a big surprise for me. I thought it was two English characters: DY or YD. Turns out it was a snow cloud. Yes, really. A snow cloud!

    Love your necklace.

  2. Hi Linda,

    I’m still researching the artist – the hallmark looks like a kachina.

    You probably know this, but for others, the majority of Hopi hallmarks are symbols or figures while the majority of Navajo hallmarks are names or initials. Not a hard and fast rule, but most of the time.

    Paula

  3. Hi, Paula: post a pic of the hallmark, so while I’m researching all my stuff I’ll keep an eye open for that one, too. Good point about the nature of the hallmarks.

    Linda

  4. Pingback: Native American Hopi Third Mesa Necklace « Native American Jewelry Tips

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