Limited Edition Print
Limited Edition Print on Canvas
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Situated in what is now northeastern Arizona, on the edge of the Painted Desert, the Hopi are widely considered to be the “oldest of the native people” within north America. The land of the Hopi Tribe is made up of several villages that rest at the base and tops of three mesas. These mesas project to the south from the enormous Black Mesa formation like fingers on a giant hand. Rising up 1,000 feet above the surrounding grasslands, Black Mesa is known to the Hopi as Tuuwanasave “the center of the universe”. The Hopi people are not only the oldest of the native peoples, but they have the longest authenticated history of occupation of a single area by any Native American tribe in the United States with a reservation that encompasses approximately 1.5 million acres with an elevation of 7,200 feet, offering panoramic views of the surrounding low-altitude desert.
In the beginning, they were a hunting and gathering group however, around the year 700 A.D., the Hopi became an agricultural people growing blue ears of corn using runoff from the mesas. At this time many of the small bands began to come together and large villages began to be established atop the mesas.
By the 16th century, the Hopi culture was highly developed with an elaborate ceremonial cycle, complex social organization, and advanced agricultural system. They also participated in an elaborate trade network that extended throughout the Southwest and into Mexico.
Now the Hopi people are internationally known for their artistry and each mesa village specializes in a different discipline. The First Mesa encompasses four villages at the top and base of the mesa and is known for pottery making. The Second Mesa hosts three villages known for coiled basketry, while the Third Mesa is known for wicker basketry. Talented weavers, Katsina doll carvers, silversmiths and jewelers can also be found at each mesa.
This painting shows a Hopi maiden wearing the distinctive hairstyle called squash blossom or butterfly whorls. To make this hairdo, a young woman’s mother would wind her hair around a curved piece of wood to give it a round shape. Then she would tie it off in the middle and remove the wood frame. Only unmarried young women wore this complex tribal hairstyle.
She also wears turquoise mosaic earrings, necklaces of shell beads, coral and turquoise as well as Navajo silver, and a traditional black manta. All of which are highly valued and significant to the Hopi.
The word Hopi itself is a short version of their name Hopituh Shi-nu-mu meaning “The Peaceful People” or “Peaceful Little Ones.” The Hopi Dictionary gives the primary meaning of the word “Hopi” as: “behaving one, one who is mannered, civilized, peaceable, polite, who adheres to the Hopi way.”
Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture’s religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics.