The Grand Canyon Of Arizona: How To See It By George Wharton James






































































































































 -  There can be no question, however, but that the large
use of silver ornaments by both pueblo and Navaho Indians - Page 93
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There Can Be No Question, However, But That The Large Use Of Silver Ornaments By Both Pueblo And Navaho Indians Dates From Three Hundred And Fifty Years Ago, After Coronado's Conquistadores Had Found Out That This Was No Land Of Gold And Precious Metals, As Was Peru.

In almost every pueblo of Arizona and New Mexico, and in many a Navaho hogan, one may find the primitive silversmith at work.

There is no silversmith's shop, but generally in a corner of the quaint pueblo house, or in an adjunct to the Navaho hogan, the worker quietly pursues his important avocation; for in a community whose members have no other metallic arts, the silversmith is an important man, and sees to it that his profession is regarded with the high dignity it deserves.

Method of Working. With a rude mud forge, - the bellows of which, though primitive, is as ingenious as any patent bellows invented, - a hammer, a piece of railroad steel for an anvil, a three-cornered file, one or two punches, a crucible which he understands how to make as well as the best metallurgist in the land, and a bit of solder, he goes to work. Sometimes he runs his melted Mexican dollars into primitive moulds; again he hammers the metal into the shape he requires. He creates rings, some of them containing rude pieces of turquoise, garnet, etc., well designed bracelets, belt-disks, large and small silver buttons (some of which are admirably adapted for belt-buckles), earrings, necklaces, crosses, beads, bangles, clasps of silver for bridles, etc.

Ornaments and jewelry. The two most cherished objects are the waist-belt and the necklace, though far more rings and bracelets are to be found. But this is on account of the great expense of the former. The waist belts generally consist of eight moulded plates, either circular or oval, with filleted border and scalloped edges, each plate weighing from two to four ounces. These are punctured in the center, or a small band is soldered to the back, to admit of their being threaded upon a long and narrow belt of leather, the ends of which are fastened with a buckle. Both men and women wear these, and they are highly prized as ornaments by both sexes. The necklaces are equally in vogue, the designs being principally hollow beads, crosses, and ornaments representing pomegranate blossoms. The silver bridle is also an object of great esteem. It is made of curiously designed, heavy clasps of silver, fastened upon leather, with numberless buttons shaped from coins. Many of these weigh not less than fifteen ounces, and some as high as forty, hence their value can be readily estimated.

CHAPTER XIX. The Hopis And Their Snake Dance

A Hopi Religious Rite. Interesting among Indians, because of their unique houses on the summits of high mesas, reached only by precipitous trails, the Hopi of northern Arizona always have possessed peculiar fascination on account of their thrilling religious rite, known as the Snake Dance, an account of which follows.*

* This Sacred Dance and the life of the Hopi Indians is more fully set out in the author's larger work "The Indians of the Painted Desert Region".

The Painted Desert.

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