Navajo Woman


Unknown Unknown inn824h.jpg IN-N-824 B&W 1504.0824.0008 inn824h Print 8x10 Historic Photographs 1920s Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives


Navajo woman wearing traditional clothing and squash blossom necklace.

One of the most characteristic of Southwest Indian jewelry designs, the squash blossom necklace was not traditional until after the arrival of Europeans, when Navajo silversmiths adopted the crescent-shaped "naja" of the Spanish into their own artwork. The earliest Navajo squash blossom necklaces were silver only; the now-familiar turquoise inlay patterns were a Zuni innovation in the 19th century. It is unknown where the name "squash blossom necklace" originally came from, since neither the Navajo, Zuni nor other Pueblo Indians call the necklace this in their own language. It may have been a mistranslation between English, Spanish, and one of the Southwest Indian languages, or perhaps someone thought the shape of the beads looked like squash blossoms at some point.

(Source: Native Languages of the Americas


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