Trading Post Times
Think back to your childhood. Did your parents or grandparents take you to museums or art galler-
ies? Did you take art classes in school? Did you go exploring in the Southwest on summer road
This is why we love Native art today. Exposure. The more we touch the land and experience the
culture of the people who live there, the more we understand how both geography and the history of
the people who inhabit that land, influence the creation and interpretation of their art. From utili-
tarian vessels, created to hold water or grain, to highly decorated contemporary pottery that we are
loath to dust for fear of scratching it, we can trace the evolution of culture and the value of the form.
Did you repeat the experiences you had as a child with your children or grandchildren? Certainly
there are few opportunities in schools anymore as art classes have all but disappeared. Galleries
tend to be stuffy and children are generally unwelcome. At River Trading Post we welcome young
visitors, and encourage them to explore and even touch the great American Indian art in our galler-
ies. Kids are genuinely interested in seeing and hearing about the art.
We contend that children should be encouraged to experience the land, the culture and the art of
many people. So parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, it’s up to you. Take the young ones
in your life to galleries, museums and on road trips. Those experiences will create memories that
they will hold forever, and will pass on to their children.
River Trading Post encourages
young ones to use the “One
Finger Touch” when they see a
piece that they like
Many people ask about the symbols incorporated into Cliff Fragua’s
. We think that
part of the appeal of this sculpture is understanding what each component means to Cliff, and we
thought we would pass his interpretation on to you.
Jemez is a matriarchal society, and this sculpture represents the reverence that each member of the
Pueblo has for women and their role as givers of life.
The womb-like opening which shelters the pottery is surrounded by what is often called the spiral of
life. The pottery itself is life-sustaining, and is made from Mother Earth. It represents all that
Mother Earth gives us.
(or headdress) represents clouds in the Pueblo culture. The hair represents rain pouring
from the clouds and goes all the way to the ground -- which is critical to life in the desert.
The turquoise necklace reflects the beauty of the inner being or soul of a woman, and the shell,
which is attached to the necklace represents the ocean – the place from which all life springs.
The triangle motifs on the edges of the shawl are vibrations – sound vibrations, if you will – which
are like music or the songs of the ancestor’s. Music surrounds the woman, bringing the ancestors to
her through sound. (Notice this formation resembles an inverted bass clef and the entire sculpture
resembles a treble clef.)
Cliff is one of our favorite artists. He has produced a body of work that is incomparable in the Na-
tive art world. Among that work,
stands out as one of his finest.
River Trading Post has been fortunate to feature this limited edition bronze and assist many people
in acquiring it. For information about one of the three remaining pieces, please contact us.
Just three Ancestor’s Song remain,
including the last of the edition
#25/25. The molds and casts were
destroyed following production of