Navajo (Dine') concho belt

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Navajo (Dine') concho belt

0.01

elaborate stamping chiseling, including multiple arrows on the buckle

 8 conchos and matching buckle on new leather belt

buckle: 3" wide x 2 1/2" high; conchos: 2 5/8" wide x 2 1/8" high

circa 1930s-1940s

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(mc1336)

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The Navajo (Dine') began to work silver in the mid-nineteenth century. Learning techniques of silversmithing from the Mexicans, they began to produce beautiful jewelry to wear, including the well-known concho belt (also known as "concha" belt). The form was derived from Ute hair and belt ornaments. The Navajos began adding turquoise to the concho circa 1900-1920.

As the railroads reached the Southwest in the 1880s, the Fred Harvey Company opened shops for travelers at the railroad stations, thus providing a ready market for Navajo jewelry. The Fred Harvey Company encouraged motifs that the tourists liked, which included arrows. The buckle on this belt has multiple arrows flying about, an element done with a lot of charm and humor.

This belt is made out of sheet silver. The stamped and chiseled designs on the conches as well as buckle are complex and they are finely done .