Navajo Silver Box with Zuni Knife Wing Man

Artist: Once Known

Dimensions: 4 3/4”L x 3 1/4″W x 1”H
Tribe: Zuni/Navajo
Stone: Jet and White Shell
Material: Silver

As seen in Elegant Vessels: A century of southwest silver boxes

Elegant Vessels Book

The figure of the Knife Wing Man appears prominently in Zuni traditional stories. Sometimes referred to as a Knife Wing Bird, this being, with its ever-present cloud headdress, outstretched wings, and birdlike tail flanked by human legs, so piqued the interest of Dr. Frederick W. Hodge that he asked Teddy Weahkee to reproduce the image in stone mosaic. The resulting popularity of Weahkee’s creation led to innumerable similar renditions appearing as jewelry and on boxes. The assemblage here exhibits the variety of approaches to the image design and complexity of both the stonework and silverwork. It is difficult to accurately attribute inlaid figures to their creators.

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