Sunday, August 29, 2021

A Visit to the Heard Museum: Stunning Craftsmanship

Today, I'll continue showing you some of the treasures to be found here in Phoenix's Heard Museum, founded in 1929 and dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art. This museum is filled with incredible beauty and so much knowledge-- it's a pleasure to go there, and there's always something new for me to see and learn.

This time, I'd like to focus on some of the amazing works of art. Let's get started!


Mohave cape necklace, late 1800s.

"The Mohave began to make beaded collars in the early 1880s. Blue and white were the most popular colors for collars. The glass trade beads became available through contact with explorers, settlers, and soldiers. Mohave elder Louise Patch referred to the design of this cape necklace as a turtle shell design. She said the diamond shapes represent the bank of the Colorado River, and the elements near the neckline are the tributaries of the Colorado River such as the Bill Williams River."

Detail. Just the thought of working with these tiny beads makes my eyes cross!

O'odham baskets

Apache baskets

You might be able to tell that I love baskets...

I also love silver and turquoise jewelry. What a fabulous cuff bracelet!

Plaque made in 1955. Mother of pearl, coral, turquoise, spondylus, jet, copper, aluminum, silver. Artists: Lambert Homer, Sr., Zuni Pueblo; Roger Skeet, Navajo; John Hoxie, Navajo.

Miniature wagon, salt and pepper shakers, oxen figures. c. 1950. Turquoise and silver. Artists: Frank Dishta and Leekya Deyuse, Zuni Pueblo.

"Betrothal," 1953. Artist: Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara. "Velarde depicts a pueblo home interior with the guests gathered around to witness the betrothal ceremony. Through the door to the kitchen is a glimpse of chili cooking on the stove. Sharing food and extending hospitality are important aspects of Pueblo life." I fell in love with Velarde's work when I first saw it in Santa Fe.


Following are some photos I took of the hundreds of kachinas in the Heard collections. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are phenomenal.

This represents part of the collection donated to the Heard Museum by Barry Goldwater.

What I've shown you in this post is a mere drop in the bucket of the treasures to be found in this museum. In future posts, I intend to show you a bit of the exhibits on Navajo weaving and contemporary Plains Indian dolls. So very much to see! If any of you ever find yourselves here in Phoenix, I urge you to pay the Heard Museum a visit.


  1. Oh, those are absolutely breathtaking, Cathy! Such beauty in the workmanship, even in the small details. I love that devotion to the form, functionality, and beauty. And I love turquoise and silver, too! How lucky you are that you got to see it 'live.' The Heard is definitely on my list if I'm in that area.

    1. Yes, it should be a must-see on any visitor's list.

  2. Love it and I've never been to this museum on any of our trips to AZ. Putting on my list for next time - whenever that might be! LOL

    1. I hope one day soon, but that may be wishful thinking in this crazy world.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! This made for a nice end to a Monday.

  4. The cape necklace and beaded collar are amazing. I remember having an American Indian doll when I was a girl that had a beaded collar. I was always fascinated by it.

    My mom loves turquoise jewelry and has quite a collection. Her mother did as well. Turquoise and silver are so perfect together.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  5. I love all of this artwork. The beaded collar is amazing. I can barely imagine the amount of careful work it took to make that. I love the oxen and wagon.
    Everything is nice.
    Thanks for sharing. I'm still not over part one which showed clothing and a boy taken away from a Native child being taken to a boarding school. Taking away a child's special toy and his/her culture should be a high crime.

  6. I sent both of your posts of the Heard Museum to a friend who was very interested in learning about it.


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