Navajo Dolls in Traditional Dress

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Navajo Dolls represent Navajo Men and Women in traditional dress.

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Navajo dolls are meant to be played with or collected.

 

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Traditional dress for a Navajo woman would start with moccasins, either ankle or knee high.  Alternatively, a Navajo woman might wear short moccasins and wear leggins or leg wraps.

 

 

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 The full, tiered skirt might be cotton or velvet. It is a full length pleated shirt that might have rick rack trim between the sections.

If the skirt is velvet, there is usually a matching top that is cinched around the waist with either a sash or a concha belt. It would be completed with jewelry made of silver, turquoise and shells and perhaps a shawl.

 

ND407-couple-blue-lg-6Necklaces are usually squash blossom style so with the dolls, a facsimile is often sewn right onto the dress. Doll earrings are often beaded loop earrings.

 

Men usually wear traditional muslin pants, a bright colored shirt (often velvet) and a cinched sash like belt or concha belt.  Men also wear necklaces and bracelets.

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Often Navajo men wore a Bandolier Bag (medicine bag) slung diagonally across from shoulder to hip. The bag was usually made of leather and decorated with conchas.

Vintage Navajo Bandolier Bag

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Hair for the dolls is made of mohair, wool or yarn.

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The hands are sometimes made of leather.

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The face is fabric and the facial features are usually painted on.

Navajo dolls might just be standing or they could be involved in an activity from everyday life such as weaving, cooking, or sewing.

Paula

What can you tell me about this Lloyd Bicenti Storyteller Belt?

Hi Paula,
I recently purchased a storyteller belt by Lloyd Bicenti.  It has 8 rectangular sections plus the buckle. I would like to know what the story is for this specific belt, but would also like to know if there is a source that one could go to about different story belts and bracelets.
Thank you,
Arthur
story belt001 story belt002 story belt003Hello Arthur,

Your beautiful belt depicts Kachinas, the eagle kachina and the antelope kachina to name just a few that are masterfully represented on the belt.

Kachinas represent the forces of nature, human, animal, plant, and act as intermediaries between the world of humans and the gods. Kachinas play an important part in the seasonal ceremonies of the Hopi, which encompass generations of passed-on knowledge and tradition, and has become the subject of a number of books. The simplified description here is meant only as an introduction.

A kachina has three aspects. The supernatural being as it exists in the minds of the Hopis; the masked impersonator of the supernatural spirit; and the dolls that are made in the likeness of the masked impersonator of the supernatural spirit.

Traditionally, kachina dolls are created by Hopi or Zuni artists. Your belt is made by a Navajo silversmith.

There are many good books written about kachinas – one of the books I show below talks about 266 different kachinas, often with subtle differences between them.  To find out which kachinas are represented on your belt, I’d suggest some online or library research.

We have a very few kachinas on our website (click on the last photo) but there are websites that devote many pages to describing them.

scan0007 scan0009Best of luck with your research and enjoy that gorgeous work of art !

Paula

To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here
http://www.horsekeeping.com/native-american-jewelry-artifacts.htm

If you are selling your jewelry, read this
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn-buying.htm

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping
http://www.horsekeeping.com/jewelry/pawn/pawnshop-vin.htm

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Last Lakota Code Talker Dies

from the Todd County Tribune in Mission, South Dakota

Clarence Wolf Guts Lakota Code Talker

Last Lakota code talker Clarence Wolf Guts dies at 86
When the towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001, Clarence Wolf Guts asked his son to call the U.S. Department of Defense to see if the country needed his code talking ab
ilities to find Osama Bin Laden.

Wolf Guts was in his late 70s at the time, so his son, Don Doyle, did not make the call, but said the request personified his father’s love of country.

“He still wanted to help. He was trying to still be patriotic,” Doyle said.

Wolf Guts, 86, the last surviving Oglala Lakota code talker, died Wednesday afternoon at the South Dakota State Veterans Home in Hot Springs.

A Native American code talker from World War II, Wolf Guts helped defeat Axis forces by transmitting strategic military messages in his native language, which the Japanese and Germans couldn’t translate.

“He’s the last surviving code talker from the whole (Lakota) nation. It’s going to be a little like the passing of an era,” Doyle said.

The 450 Navajo code talkers were the most famous group of Native American soldiers to radio messages from the battlefields, but 15 other tribes used their languages to aid the Allied efforts in World War II. Wolf Guts was one of 11 Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Native American code talkers from South Dakota. Wolf Guts, of Wamblee, enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 17, 1942, at age 18. While in basic training, a general asked Wolf Guts if he spoke Sioux. He explained the three dialects to the general and said he spoke Lakota. Wolf Guts helped develop a phonetic alphabet based on Lakota that was later used to develop a Lakota code.

He and three other Sioux code talkers joined the Pacific campaign; Wolf Guts’ primary job was transmitting coded messages from a general to his chief of staff in the field.

Pfc. Wolf Guts was honorably discharged on Jan. 13, 1946, but the horrors of war followed him home and he turned to alcohol to forget, Doyle said.

“He tried to keep it all inside,” Doyle said.

About a decade ago, Wolf Guts started to share his experiences as a code talker with his son and the public.

Doyle said his father’s deeply religious way of life was also a part of the stories. He always thanked God for bringing him home.

With the sharing of his story came recognition of his service and honors, including national acknowledgement through the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 championed by senators Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and John Thune, R-S.D.

Both senators honored Wolf Guts efforts and offered their sympathies on Thursday night.

“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Clarence Wolf Guts. He and his fellow Code Talkers have had a lasting impact on the course of history and helped lead the Allies to success during World War II. He will be greatly missed, but his contributions to our state and nation will live on,” said Johnson.

“Clarence Wolf Guts was an American hero; he was courageous and self-sacrificing. I have a great deal of respect for Clarence and for the extraordinary contributions Mr. Wolf Guts made to our country. The efforts of the Lakota Code Talkers saved the lives of many soldiers, and for too long went unrecognized. Kimberley and I wish to express our sympathy to his family during this difficult time,” Thune said.

Doyle said his father was humbled by the recognition, but was proud of his service during the war. Wolf Guts’ desire to help others continued throughout his life well after the war ended.

“He considered himself just a man, nobody important. A man that tried to make life better for his family and his people. To me that is his legacy, to be able to help people,” Doyle said. “To him, that was being warrior.”

From Paula – Thank you so much for your love of our country and your service. Peace be to you and your family.

Southwest Art Defined

I was contacted a while back about permission to use one of the photos from our website in a book. I gave that permission and then forgot about it.

So I was surprised when we received a thank you note and complimentary copy of  a lovely new book “Southwest Art Defined: An Illustrated Guide” by Margaret Moore Booker and published by Rio Nuevo Publishers.

It is a beautiful 11″ x 9 1/4″ hardbound book with dust jacket. Here is what the publisher says

Southwest Art Defined, by Santa Fe author Margaret Moore Booker, is now available! This beautiful hardcover book brings the traditional arts of the Southwest are brought together in one volume for the first time. Almost 500 comprehensive descriptions of Native American and Hispano art are accompanied by 370 full-color photographs of art from museums, galleries, and private collections. Lose yourself in the stunning pottery, textiles, jewelry, carvings, and architecture of the Southwest.

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The Beauty of Autumn – Lakota No Face Doll by Diane Tells His Name

How perfect to feature this beautiful lady at this time of year during the gorgeous fall.

The Beauty of Autumn – Lakota No Face Doll
by Diane Tells His Name

The No Face Doll

The No Face doll has its origin in the corn-growing Northeastern tribes as the dolls were traditionally made of cornhusks, with darkened corn silk for the hair.

As legend has it, Corn Spirit, sustainer of life, asked the Creator for more ways to help her people. The Creator formed dolls from her husks, giving the dolls a beautiful face. When the children of the Iroquois pass the dolls from village to village and from child to child, her beauty was proclaimed so often that the corn husk doll became very vain. The Creator disapproved of such behavior and so told the doll that if she was going to continue being part of the culture, she would need to develop humility.

The doll agreed but couldn’t help but admire her own reflection in a creek. The all-seeing Creator, sent a giant screech owl down from the sky to snatch the doll’s reflection from the water. She could no longer see her face or bask in her superior beauty.

So when a Northeast Native American mother gives a doll to her child, it is usually a doll with no face and the mother tells the child the legend of the Corn-Husk doll. Native Americans want their children to value the unique gifts that the Creator has given to each of them, but not to view themselves as superior to another, or to overemphasize physical appearance at the expense of spiritual and community values.

Miniature Kachinas are back……….

To those of you asking for the Miniature Hand Made Cottonwood Root Kachinas, we just received a new family of them from Loretta Multine.