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Article

Frederick J. Dockstader

(b Pine Springs, AZ, c. 1910; d New Mexico, 1957).

Native American Navajo silversmith. He learnt the art as a young man from his half-brother John and an older Navajo, Left Handed Red, then branched out on his own. He became a successful silversmith, and with his wife Mabel was one of the most active craftsmen in the area, not far from the Hubbell Trading Post, AZ. During the fieldwork of ethnographer John Adair (b 1913) they became well acquainted, and Burnsides was a primary source for most of Adair’s study; Adair’s subsequent publication (1944) gave Burnsides a status that caused collectors to prize his work. Tom and Mabel were frequently called upon to tour and demonstrate their silversmithing and weaving skills, and they made several world trips under the auspices of the US Government Office of Information and of the State Department. Both were killed in a car accident.

J. Adair: The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths...

Article

Cahokia  

David M. Jones

Site in the USA in East St Louis, IL, of a huge Pre-Columbian city. Founded c. ad 700, it was the largest prehistoric city ever built north of Mexico and was probably influenced by political and civic ideas from Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian. At its height, between c. ad 1050 and c. 1250, Cahokia encompassed c. 13 sq. km and had a population of c. 10–15,000. Although located in the north-west part of the middle Mississippi Southern Cult area, it was the political, economic and religious centre for more than 50 towns (see Native North American art, §I, 4, (v)). The exact nature of its power or rule, however, is uncertain. A potential rival in the south-east of the cult area was Moundville, AL, nearly as large. Cahokia began to decline after c. 1250, although some of its satellite towns, at such sites as Angel, Aztatlan, Dickson and Kinkaid, continued to flourish as local centres. A drastic population decline ...

Article

R. Gwinn Vivian

Archaeological zone of Pre-Columbian towns and roads in North America, in the San Juan Basin, north-western New Mexico. Chaco Canyon was the centre from c. ad 850–1150 of Chacoan culture, one manifestation of the Anasazi tradition, and considered ancestral to contemporary Pueblo peoples of the Southwest. A community of at least 12 multi-storey, tiered ‘great houses’ and hundreds of contemporaneous single storey ‘small house sites’ were built within a 15 km sector of the canyon. ‘Great houses’ were constructed with core walls with veneer masonry and ranged from 80 to 580 rooms. Small houses were of simpler masonry and averaged about 20 rooms each. Both types were domestic structures, but also contained round ceremonial rooms known as kivas (see Kiva). ‘Great kivas’, up to 18 m in diameter, are restricted to ‘great houses’ or occur as isolated buildings. ‘Great houses’ are associated with elaborate water-control systems that collected and diverted rainfall run-off to gridded agricultural fields. ‘Great houses’ in the canyon itself were linked to ‘outlier’ communities on the peripheries of the San Juan Basin by wide (...

Article

Arthur Silberman

[Ha-o-zous]

(b Apache, OK, June 30, 1914; d Santa Fe, NM, Aug 22, 1994).

Native American painter and sculptor. He was the son of a Chiricahua Apache (originally from Colorado and New Mexico) family who settled in Oklahoma after release from captivity at Fort Sill in 1913. As a young boy he received a full education in Chiricahua Apache customs. He later attended the Santa Fe Indian School and studied painting with Dorothy Dunn (1903–91). In 1936 he received the Arts and Crafts Award for the best work produced by a student. After graduation, he gained additional experience in oil, casein, and egg tempera painting and in fresco and secco mural techniques. His early paintings were scenes of Apache ceremonial and social life in the flat, controlled style of the Santa Fe Indian School, which also revealed his skill as a draughtsman. He painted a number of murals, including the extant series illustrating Apache dancers and people on horseback for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, DC (...

Article

Navajo  

Margaret Moore Booker

Tribe of Native Americans who call themselves Diné (“the people”) and whose Dinetah (homelands) are situated on a c. 15 million-acre-reservation in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southern Utah. The Navajo have rich artistic traditions in the Southwest dating back at least five centuries. Greatly influenced by Pueblo Indians of the region, the Navajo made textiles, basketry and pottery for utilitarian and religious purposes. Traditionally, it was the Navajo women who made pottery and wove textiles, while the men were silversmiths. The latter, who learned this art from the Spanish, led the way in the development of silver and turquoise jewelry in the Southwest. Their forms and decorative styles influenced other Native American jewelers.

The Navajo excel at weaving. Their earliest works were woolen blankets made on an upright loom and meant to be worn. After trading posts were established on the reservation in the early 1870s, the traders encouraged the Navajo to weave heavier textiles that could serve as rugs. Often given materials and designs by the traders to follow, the Navajo weavers made their own adaptations that evolved into the exquisite rugs they are famous for. A wide range of patterns and colors and a number of distinct regional styles exist (...

Article

Jeff Stockton

(Maurilio )

(b Laredo, TX, 1943).

American painter and printmaker of Mexican and Yaqui descent (mestizo). Peña’s art celebrated the strength of a native people who met the harsh realities of life in an uncompromising land, and his work was a tribute to the Native Americans who survived by living in harmony with an adversarial, untamed environment. His artwork was inspired by places in the Southwest that were part of an enduring landscape and represented the ancient heritage of the region that is now Arizona and New Mexico.

Peña’s work was defined by its bold color and form and dynamic composition. Abstract landscapes merged with human forms, and blanket and pottery patterns entered into the overall design. A prolific artist, Peña produced primarily watercolors and etchings, in addition to drawings, graphics, ceramics and jewelry. Irrespective of the medium, the recurring motif (and Peña’s artistic trademark) was a modeled, angular profile of a Native American man or woman, which he used as a simplified storytelling device....