The museum is open Fridays through Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free timed-entry passes are required. Review our latest visitor safety guidelines.

New Mexican Inlaid Cross, Late 1800s

New Mexican Inlaid Cross, Late 1800s

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description
Members of either the Zuni or Navajo communities likely made this small wooden cross near Gallop, New Mexico in the northwestern corner of the state. It is composed of wood decorated with straw inlayed into pine resin darkened with soot. It dates to the last half of the 19th century.
Scholars believe that straw applique originated in Spain and came to Mexico at the turn of the 19th century. The technique was then adopted by Native Americans where it was spread throughout Mexico reaching its northern regions where it became a popular artistic tradition. Inlaying straw into resin covered wood imitated the European art of inlaying wood with precious materials such as gold, silver, and ivory. Today, several artisans continue the tradition and combine decorative patterns similar to those of Native Americans.
The influence of Native American decoration with geometric shapes combined with the strong elements of European Catholic devotional items influenced a tradition started generations ago kept alive by artists using the technique today.
Object Name
Cross
Date made
ca. 1850-1900
place made
United States: New Mexico, Gallup
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
corn husk (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 6 1/2 in x 3 3/4 in x 3/8 in; 16.51 cm x 9.525 cm x.9525 cm
ID Number
CL.219168
accession number
40071
catalog number
219168
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Religion
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object