KWABLA has entered into partnerships with artisans of the Zuni Native American culture from New Mexico. To browse KWABLA's catalogue of goods or listing of artisans from the Zuni culture, click on the icons at the bottom of the page.
According to Zuni legend, at the beginning of time the Zuni ancestors emerged into this Fourth World from a location in the Grand Canyon and eventually found their way to Halonna:wa (Middle Place). Archaeologists have discovered evidence that the ancestors of the Zuni have roamed America’s Southwest for over 10,000 years. Zuni documented history began in 1540 when the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Vasquez Coronado and his soldiers invaded the village of Hawikku, one of the six ancestral villages, in search of the fabled “Seven Cities of Gold”. In 1680, the Zuni launched a revolt against the Spanish rule and as a result, all six occupied Zuni villages sought refuge on the sacred Dowa Yalanne Mountain. After making peace with the Spanish in 1692, the Zuni people returned to their main village at Halonna:wa, which became known as “Zuni”. In 1848, the United States took control over all of the Southwest territory including the Zuni lands and proceeded to reduce the Zuni’s aboriginal territories until the Zuni Reservation was created in 1877. In 1970 the Zuni Pueblo became the first Native American community to administer its own reservation affairs.
The Zuni Pueblo is the largest of the 19 pueblos in New Mexico, both in size (more than 600 sq. miles) and in population (over 11,000 residents). Zuni is considered the most traditional of all the New Mexican pueblos, with a unique language, culture, and history that resulted in part from the geographic isolation of the Zuni Pueblo. The Zuni Pueblo is a sovereign, self-governing nation with its own constitutional government, courts, police force, school system, and economic base. The Zuni calendar is marked by an annual cycle of traditional ceremonial activities, the most sacred and well-known of which is the annual winter Sha'lak'o observances.
Zuni is known as a "village of artisans" and has been internationally recognized for its production of superior craftsmanship and artworks. The Zuni Pueblo is one of the few places in the world where virtually the entire community is involved in the arts, nearly 90% of Zuni households create some form of traditional Zuni cultural goods. This home-based “cottage” arts production serves as the main source of income for the majority of the Zuni people. These artistic enterprises enable the Zuni people to continue their traditional way of life and pass on the old techniques and talents to the future generations.
The most commonly produced goods by Zuni artisans are jewelry, stone "fetish" carvings, pottery, beadwork, “Kachina” dolls, and other arts. Precious metals, stones and natural materials are creatively formed into beautifully crafted works of art reflecting Zuni cultural heritage, legends, and traditions. The Zunis are most famous for their beautiful jewelry of silver, turquoise or red coral creations. Zuni silverwork had beginnings in the early turquoise inlays of delicate wooden combs and ear dangles of perhaps 700 hundred years ago. In the early 1870’s a Navajo silversmith introduced the Zuni to the techniques of working silver and within 20 years the Zuni craftsmen had mastered silverwork and were selling their own unique styles throughout the region. By the 1950’s, the “Zuni style” of silverwork had became known and firmly established. Today silver and precious stones come together in a variety of styles including “nugget work”, “cast”, “cluster”, “petitpoint”, “needlepoint”, “mosaic”, “inlay” and many other “non-traditional” styles.
To browse KWABLA's catalogue of goods or listing of artisans from the Zuni Native American culture of New Mexico, click on the icons below.