Native American Symbols – Corn Maiden

The Corn Maiden is represented in jewelry and table fetishes as a woman with a body shaped like an ear of corn. She may or may not be wearing a headdress.

Tablita Corn Maiden by Delbert Cachini, Zuni

Corn is to Pueblo people what the buffalo has always been to the Plains Indians, the very symbol of LIFE. In Zuni mythology, the Corn Maidens brought this gift, and many of the carvings of women, especially those with a criss-cross pattern on the body, are carved to pay homage to the Corn Maidens.

Picasso Marble Corn Maiden with Tabletta by Carl Etsate, Zuni

What is a tabletta (also called a Tablita)? It is a portion of the headdress of the Hopi Butterfly Maiden (subject of an upcoming post) and often shown on the corn Maiden.  A tabletta is a ceremonial board headdress with stair step edges and a decorated front and back. It is worn by Native American dancers who depict the Corn Maiden, using a harness to hold it onto the head, so that the widest portion is seen from the front or the back.

The Corn Maiden represents the divine gift of the growing and harvesting of corn to Native American peoples. Often stylized, Corn Maidens are very captivating and reach out to you.

Corn Maiden carved from Deer Antler by Jared Amesoli, Zuni

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Native American Symbols – Corn

My eyes some times play tricks on me. When I first read the post about Man in the Maze, I thought it said, “Man in the Maize,” and read with interest, looking for the connection with corn. It is a beautiful symbol, and I never knew before what it meant.

Is corn also used as a symbol in jewelry or art by native Americans?

Kathleen

Hello Kathleen,

There is much written about corn as a part of Native American life. This is a very brief overview.

Corn is the symbol of sustenance, the staff of life and is an important symbol of many tribes. Corn is considered a gift from the Great Spirit so its role is both as a food and a ceremonial object.

Hand carved Corn Pendant and Earrings by Lonny Cloud

Hand carved Corn Pendant and Earrings by Lonny Cloud

Very notably, corn is connected to the Hopi for their skill in being able to raise corn in desert sand.

Corn Maiden Kachina

Corn Maiden Kachina

Corn Pollen is a blessing given for protection, understanding and forgiveness. It is used along with prayers, in house blessings, and to bless people by placing pollen on top of the head.

Cornmeal, usually made from perfect ears of white corn, is considered sacred and is used to bless and nurture sacred objects such as fetishes.

Native American Fetish Carvings

Native American Fetish Carvings

The corn maiden gives of her own body to feed her family and provides seeds which ensure a continued source of food.

Corn Maiden Fetish Carving from Picasso Marble

Corn Maiden Fetish Carving from Picasso Marble