The Hopi, direct heirs of the Anasazi, are small in number but giants in terms of culture and traditions.
Originally, the Hopi lived on large arid plateaus called Mesas, and they still do today. These territories perched on the tops of canyons were so bare that they protected them from any greed or territorial war. Today, the members of this proud and close-knit tribe live in a handful of villages on a few thousand square meters territory in northern Arizona.
The Hopi excel in some essential aspects of native culture:
They have developed advanced agricultural techniques that enable them to grow essential foodstuffs even though their territory is very arid.
Their tribe boosts a very strong spirituality and are particularly known for the Kachina Dancing Ceremonies. The Kachinas are spiritual beings who are either deities or intermediaries between humans and the divine. Kachinas are at the heart of incredible Hopi rituals during which breath-taking choreographies are performed by masked dancers embodying the Kachinas. At Harpo, you will find a selection of statuettes we carefully picked for our “Decoration” category.
In terms of craftsmanship, the Hopi have distinguished themselves for their pottery work, the result of an ancestral meticulous process. This tribe also handles the art of weaving and braiding to perfection.
Finally, the Hopi are known for their superb jewelry techniques, and more particularly for certain processes of which we present unique pieces. It is interesting to note that, while originally in the 1500’s the Hopi made jewelry with mosaics and beads made of wood, shells, seeds or bone, between 1900 and 1940 they learnt the technique with silver, in which they excel today. This success is due to a transmission of knowledge from certain Zuni artists, as well as to a training program set up after the Second World War to train former Hopi soldiers in silversmithing applied to the traditional symbols of this tribe.
The Hopi are nowadays concentrating only on working with silver and have developed a specific know-how. HARPO is committed to offering emblematic pieces of modern Hopi jewelry. In our collections, you will find pendants, bracelets, rings and belt buckles made of sterling silver using the overlay process.
Native American silver jewelry made in overlay is composed of two flat pieces of the same size that are nested one on top of the other. The one above is cut out of a pattern and acts as a "stencil". On this side, Hopi artists often represent symbols of their spirituality: for instance a Kachina, a Dawa (Sunface, the Sacred Sun Father, symbol of life) or a Kokopelli (emblematic Native figure that embodies water, music and fertility), among many other Amerindian symbols. This stencil is applied to the piece below, creating a silver background. This background is then oxidized and scraped to create a contrast between the two pieces.