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Trading Post Times

Page 2

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

trips?

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.

N

ATIVE

A

RT

: I

T

S

NOT

JUST

FOR

G

ROWNUPS

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

Ancestor’s Song

. 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.

The

tablita

(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,

Ancestor’s Song

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.

A

NCESTOR

S

S

ONG

: R

ICH

W

ITH

M

EANING

,

T

HE

E

DITION

C

LOSES

O

UT

Just three Ancestor’s Song remain,

including the last of the edition

#25/25. The molds and casts were

destroyed following production of

issue #25.