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This is a really beautiful Native American Hopi sterling silver Man in a Maze pendant.

Original owner.

Bought during the mid 1980s.

Artist signed: L. J. H.

Hallmarked: Sterling

On the back, there are the findings for this being a brooch, and will need to be repaired if you want to wear this as a pin.


Measurements:

Diameter: 2 inches.


Man in the Maze:

Style of unicursal Labyrinth topologically equivalent to the classical seven circuit Labyrinth, commonly seen in the Tohono O'Odham nation (Native American tribe), characterized by seven concentric circles with the seed pattern in the center.

Life and Choice, depicted in this common symbol, "the-man-in-the-maze" was originally created as an illustration of an emergence story by the Tohono o'odham or Papago Indians of the Central Valley in Arizona. The little man is named "U'ki'ut'l" in their language. It has been adopted by other people because it is significant of life's cycles and eternal motion and also of the choices we are confronted with. The right choices lead us to a point of harmony with all things, no matter how hard or long the road taken. This symbol is especially utilized by Hopi silversmiths as a way to showcase the quality of their technique.

The "Man In The Maze" is a visual representation of the Tohono O'odham Indians belief in life, death and the life after death. The man at the top of the maze depicts birth. By following the pattern, beginning at the top, the figure goes through the maze encountering many turns and changes, as in life. As the journey continues, one aquires knowledge, strength and understanding. Nearing the end of the maze, one retreats to a small corner of the pattern before reaching the dark center of death and eternal life. Here one repents, cleanses and reflects back on all the wisdom gained. Finally, pure and in harmony with the world, death and eternal life are accepted.

References:

Labyrinth Design. Retrieved February 26, 2012 from: http://www.earthart.org/happenings/kiva/labyrinths.html

* * *
The Hopi are an indigenous people inhabiting their ancestral lands, nearly 4,000 square miles of high arid terrain, in North Central Arizona. Within this vast area, the main villages cling to three rocky mesas. The village of Orabi may be the oldest continuously inhabited community in this country. The Hopi people, as artists and crafts people, excel in a number of fields.

The residents of the First Mesa area are noted for their pottery, Second Mesa for coiled baskets, and Third Mesa for wicker plaques. The carving of tihus (dolls representing katsinas originally used as a means of education for the young) and silversmithing have traditionally been the realm of the men of all three mesas, however, in our generation a number of women have become very accomplished silversmiths.

The Hopi are a deeply spiritual people whose beliefs permeate their entire lives. A harmony with nature is at the center of these beliefs and is reflected in the symbols used in their dances, rituals, art, and jewelry. Water may be symbolized as turtles, frogs, clouds, lightning, rain and waves; fertility and abundance may appear as corn, bean sprouts, and other crops; the spiritual world as katsinas, stories of creation (birth from the earth and migration through the maze of life), prayer feathers or folk figures. Animals have special powers and abilities and are often portrayed in Hopi jewelry designs.

Hopi sacred time and space are marked by positions on the horizon where the sun rises and sets at summer and winter solstices. The solstice points in the southeast, where the sun rises at winter solstice (December 21st), and in the northwest, where the sun sets at the summer solstice (June 21st), are known as the sun's houses (Tawaki). The sun chief or priest of the Water (Patki) Clan is responsible for "sun watching" near the solstices. These observations form the basis for the Hopi Calendar within which the sacred ceremonies such as Katsina dances, Social Dances, and planting times occur.

A fundamental theme of the Hopi world view is that the universe is divided into two realms, the upper world of the living and the lower world of spirits. Events occur regularly between these two worlds in alternating cycles. For example, the sun moves between the upper world by day and the lower world by night. Likewise, it follows an alternating cycle through the year. When it is planting time (Spring) in the upper world, it is harvest time (Fall) in the lower world.

Similarly, there is a cycle for an individual: one is born, lives, dies and goes to the spirit realm-to be reborn as ancestor spirits, or Katsinam, as are the spirits of the animals and plants. As spirit beings, they act by carrying the prayers of the living to the deities, or by interceding with the forces of nature to promote that which sustains life in the upper world.

"Corn is the Mother of the Hopi," they say. Without corn there is no food. In this land of little rainfall and capricious weather, the Hopi feel a pressing need for supernatural assistance to ensure that corn will grow. Long ago, this need was formalized into what we know today as the Katsina and Social Dance ceremonies and rituals of the Hopi and other Pueblo people.

The return of the sun to the winter house is celebrated by the Soyal ceremony. The Soyal katsina appears in the village to "open" the kivas (underground ceremonial houses) and to allow the return of the other Katsinam.

In the Hopi lunar month of Powamuya (February), the sixteen-day Powamu ceremony (Bean Dance) is held. Bean sprouts, germinated in the kivas, are distributed by the Katsinam to the villagers. Gifts, including katsina dolls are given to the young children. Also associated with Powamu is the appearance of the Soyoko (Ogre Katsinas) who threaten young children for the misdeeds.

The winter Katsina ceremonies, held in the kivas, are concerned with the preparation for and anticipation of the coming growing season. As the weather warms in the spring and early summer, the dances occur in the plazas and are concerned with bringing rain and good crops.
About thirty days before summer solstice is the time for general corn planting and about thirty days following summer solstice is the end of the Katsina season celebrated by the Niman, or Home-Going ceremony. This final appearance of the Katsinam signals the ripening of the first early corn crop and the departure of the Katsinam to the San Francisco Peaks (Nuvatukyaovi), an entrance to the lower world. In August of alternating years the Snake Dance or Flute Dance is held, having to do with petitions for rain or for the water springs to continue flowing. Also, at this time of the year (July/August) the Katsinam manifest themselves to the Hopi in the form of rain clouds in answer to their petitions.

With the maturing crops in September and October come the Women's Society Ceremonies, commonly called the Basket Dances and the Knee-High Dance.

The year of the Hopi comes to a close in late November with the Wuwuchim ceremony for the initiation of the young men into Hopi society.

The Hopi, as did other peoples of the Southwest, learned metal working from the Spanish. Until post World War II, Hopi silver work was primarily cast or stamped. During the 1940's the Hopi developed a unique style called overlay (this term comes from the method by which the jewelry is constructed).

Hopi overlay is constructed from two layers of sterling silver. A design is traced on a sheet of silver and is then painstakingly cut out with a jeweler's saw by hand. This top design layer is then silver soldered to another sheet, the bottom layer, of silver. Texturing is added to the bottom layer in all the open areas of the design using a hammer and a small punch. The piece is then trimmed to it's final shape and size. Next the assembled item is hammered into its final form, contoured, and blackened to enhance the negative areas of the design. The top surface is then buffed to either a matte-like satin finish or to a mirror-like high polish.

References:

Hopi Overlay. Retrieved May 23, 2013 from:
http://shops.musnaz.org/hopi-overlay

The Hopi. Retrieved May 23, 2013 from:
http://www.southwesttraditions.com/The_Hopi/the_hopi.html

RESERVED LISTING for Jennifer Vintage Artist Signed Native American Hopi Sterling Silver Man in a Maze Pendant Labryrinth

Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1980s
  • Material: sterling silver
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 610 reviews
  • Favorited by: 131 people