One of the greatest contemporary Native American jewelry silversmiths of our time, award-winning Bennie Ration has a distinct three dimensional style with geometric patterns figuring prominently in his pieces. Using overlay to highlight and accent his designs, Bennie Ration creates unique pieces using the finest materials. His pieces are recognized all over the world as some of the finest silverwork. Bennie was born in March of 1955 to Francis and John Ration of the Canoncito Navajo reservation in New Mexico. His father, John, began teaching Bennie the art of silversmithing in grade school. From age 11, Bennie was a talented artist.
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.
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I have a rather unique necklace signed Arti in sterling and was wondering if you have heard of the artist. Made around 1997.
I have no idea but I do LOVE it !!!
The boots with spurs, the candy cane, the detail of the general store with a mudhead kachina head !! Wow, what a detailed and unique piece.
Maybe another reader will recognize the hallmark, the superb work and bizarre subject matter.