Tony Abeyta Blue Corn Ring
Sterling silver “Blue Corn Ring” by Tony Abeyta
18mm wide taper to 8mm wide shank
27mm x 16mm oval turquoise
First domesticated five thousand years ago in Mesoamerica, maize, the staff of life, has been the foundation of Southwestern subsistence and ritual of life for thousands of years. In a land of arid environments, each stalk of corn is respected. Popavi Da (San Ildefonso) relates: “Our Pueblo people eat gently, recognizing with inner feelings that the corn or squash were at one time growing, cared for, each plant alive, now prepared to become part of us, of our bodies and our minds, quite sacred. We reflect on the plant.” Prior to attending the “stately” Tablita or Corn Dance of Cochiti Pueblo in July 1995, anthropologist Charles Lange informed the author and her group that “the Koshare [Delight Makers] feed cornmeal to the drums to feed the voices.”
The Hopi associate each of the six directions (the cardinal directions plus the zenith [above] and nadir [below] with an appropriately colored ear of corn. Hopi corn varieties are yellow, blue, red, white, black and sweet (called “katsina corn”). Mi’li is the Zuñi name for corn and for the spirit of A’wonawil’ona (He-She-Who-Created-Everything), represented as the ear of corn clothed in beautiful plumage. Macaws or parrots, like Indian corn, are multihued. Since macaws are birds from the distant south (having been brought north in Hohokam times), they are fellow travelers with the sun, the sun being the main force that governs the corn cycle. Hence, it is not surprising that macaw or parrot feathers crown the Corn Mother fetishes.
During the Navajo’s Blessingway rites, pollen is eaten during prayer, and many Southwestern Indians make offerings to the spirit world by casting ground cornmeal to each direction. When pieces of shell and coral and turquoise (earth) as well as corn pollen are added to the ground grain, writes Hamilton A. Tyler, “all the essentials of life are brought together.”
-North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment From Prehistory to the Present, Lois Sherr Dubin (page 532)