The artistic traditions of the Hopi tribe of Northern Arizona go back hundreds and hundreds of years. First encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century, the Hopi and the surrounding cultures were referred to as Puebla people, because they lived in villages and not on the plains. Hopi jewelry styles use a wide variety of designs mostly with religious and tribal symbols that include animals, nature, and their clans.
Like the Navajo, the Hopi were the benefactors of the Spanish silversmith tradition. Beginning just before WWII, Hopi craftsmen developed a characteristic style, one that shows little stone use but intricate overlay design work. Today, the Hopi are among the most renowned Native American tribes in the art of silversmithing.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is offering a great range of Hopi art on Day 2 of their Arts of the American West sale. Leading the way is Lot 478, a 18 karat yellow gold, turquoise and lapis bracelet by revered Hopi artist, Charles Loloma. Loloma drew much of his inspirations from other cultures, and often created Hopi interpretations of Egyptian figures, a direction that was not always popular with patrons of Indian art.
Lot 479 is a similar piece by the same artist - this time a silver, wood, lapis, coral, and 18 karat yellow gold bracelet. Charles Loloma, who died in 1991, won first prize in the Scottsdale National Indian Art Exhibition seven years in a row, and continues to be an strong source of inspiration to all native artists.
In 1994, Victor Coochwytewa was one of three Native American elders chosen as Arizona Indian Living Treasures at the seventh annual AILTA award ceremony. Lot 472, a Hopi silver concha belt by Coochwytewa, is decorated with eleven tooled conchas and is signed with his distinctive raincloud mark.
With Lot 470, artist Michael Kabotie ultilizes the overlay technique developed by the Hopi just before WWII. Designs are cut into one piece of silver, which is overlaid and soldered to another solid piece, giving the jewelry added depth. This modern design sports a high grade turquoise cabochon and is signed Lomawywesa.
What better way to finish than with Lot 477, an exquisite pair of Hopi earclips by the legendary Charles Loloma? Despite a penchant for the unconventional, Loloma stuck with traditional material with this design, employing silver, turquoise, coral and ironwood to great effect.