Chaco Canyon Medicine Bag + Earth Pigment Painted Deer Hide + Pre Columbian Beads, Abalone, Rattlesnake Bone, Taos Pueblo Clay + Reversible

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Chaco Canyon Medicine Bag + Earth Pigment Painted Deer Hide + Pre Columbian Beads, Abalone, Rattlesnake Bone, Taos Pueblo Clay + Reversible

310.00

Inspired by the ancient culture of Chaco Canyon, this handmade medicine pouch could be an artifact from Ancestral Pueblo times.  It's also reversible.

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:: At The Center Place ::

Sometimes a piece takes a long and meandering path when it comes to light; this little medicine bag is one of those.  I began it several days ago, and it soon became obvious that it had very clear ideas about what it did--and did not--want to be.  This one took on a strong Anasazi aura, and it greatly resembles a museum artifact from those long-ago times.  The focus is Chaco Canyon, a mysterious and austere complex of ruins far out in the San Juan Basin desert.  Virtually no hide artifacts have come down to us from the Anasazi, or Ancestral Puebloans, as those materials would have been devoured by scavengers.  I have only seen a couple of of bags and pouches, made from the hides of small animals, often painted and decorated.

This pouch is made from soft deer hide.  I hand-cut and laced the bag together, adding a drawstring closure and a separate strap that can be adjusted and tied to your preferred length.  Over several days, it underwent a lengthy painting and distressing process, beginning with washing and staining with a veil of peat ink, after which it was hung on a cholla branch to dry in the hot desert sun.  Then an unusually cool day came along and I decided to take to opportunity to go out to Chaco Canyon, and took the pouch along with me.  While I was there I rubbed it into the sandy earth in the ruins of Pueblo Bonito and Hungo Pavi, both shown in the photos, imbuing it with the energy of the place. 

Back home the next day I used hand-gathered earth pigments from Ahshislepah (near Chaco), and Ojito, to paint the front flap.  The designs are from Ancestral Pueblo pottery: the zigzag is found on Basketmaker II-III bowls, while the outlined triangular designs with hatchure are classic Chaco.  The diamond shaped shell pendant is made with clamshell I collected over 20 years ago at Pillar Point, California; it was cut, ground, drilled and carved with stone tools in the Anasazi manner.

The ornaments are the types that would have been used by the Anasazi, or materials that come from the region.  Every small piece of fringe has at least one bead.  All of the smaller beads are Pre-Columbian, and although they are from South America, they are very similar to those used in and around Chaco.  These include discs and round beads of stone, shell and clay in colors of black, red and white.  I made several alternating sequences of black and white in reference to the fabulously long ones found in Chaco.  Meko Concha, a Taos Pueblo Indian, made and pit-fired the larger discs of their local micaceous clay. 

The white rattlesnake vertebra are from the Seri Indians of Mexico.  I found the limpet shells, worn by the sea to rings, at Pillar Point, and drilled the abalone pieces with stone points (my camera did not pick up the colorful iridescence of the abalone well at all).  I also ground the spires off the tiny olivella shells to make Anasazi-style beads.  There are also some juniper seed Navajo "Ghost Beads", a type that was made and worn by the Anasazi as well.  Finally, a few earth-toned pieces of polished petrified wood from Arizona are scattered through the strand.

This bag is reversible: you can wear it with the painted flap side out, or if you would prefer to see more of the beads you can turn it around.  The pouch can hold small stones, talismans or fetishes, or you can wear it as it is. 

The strap is fully adjustable.  To lengthen or shorten it, untie the knots, which are just on the inside of the flap, adjust the length, and retie.  If you are shortening it significantly you can move the shell beads higher up on the strand, retie them, and even cut the extra off of the ends if you wish to keep it at that length.       

SIZE:  The pouch with all fringe measures 9" x 3 1/2", or 23cm x 8cm; the pouch can hold objects up to 1 1/4" x 2", or 32mm x 50mm long.  Right now the strap is 28" or 71cm long:  it can be lengthened for 4 more inches, and shortened as much as you like.

CARE:   Please respect the great age of these beads, shell and bone, and handle with care.  The Taos clay beads are also fragile.  Do not immerse in water.   

PRESENTATION: This medicine pouch will come to you beautifully giftwrapped.  See my shop policies below for details.

++ Shipping is included in the price. ++

HAVE A QUESTION? Click on the shop policies link below for more information.  Feel free to contact me if you don't see the answer there