Home | About Us | Articles | Shopping | Contact | Site Map | Search
NP524 - $35 plus s/h
Paula says: "Are you wondering why this item is not described as Native American? You can find the answer by clicking here."
Navajo Yei Figure
The yei figure symbolizes healing powers.
be depicted standing upright, curved or angled in a three-sided square.
Appearing as Petroglyphs (Rock Art) in North America, Yei figures are often use in healing sand paintings and woven into rugs.
Yei figures fashioned into jewelry are less common so are treasures not to be passed up.
What does Tufa Cast or Sand Cast or mean?
Native American cast items are handmade items using one of several processes and materials.
Sand casting was developed by the Egyptians and introduced to the Dine (Navajo) in the 1880s. This method uses sand with a high clay content to form a mold from a template, an existing piece of jewelry or sculpture. Two halves of a box are filled with sand and the original piece is placed between them so the sand packs around the template to form an impression of the original piece.The boxes are carefully separated and the original piece is removed leaving behind an impression of the piece. A sprue (hole into which the molten metal is poured) and air vents are formed from the impression cavity to the edges of the mold and the two boxes are then bound together. Molten metal is poured into the sprue to fill the mold and allowed to cool. The box is separated and the newly cast piece is removed and finished by grindng, filing and polishing.
Tufa casting is used by many Navajo casters today to make an original piece of jewelry or sculpture. Using Tuff Stone, a porous rock from volcanic ash, Tufa Stone, a porous limestone that forms near hot springs, or Sandstone, a harder stone, the artist carves out an original design of an item to be cast, taking care to make the edges angle outward so the metal doesnt stick into corners when the halves are later separated. A sprue is carved from one edge of the cavity to the edge of the form. Another flat stone is placed against the carved half of the mold. The halves are fastened together and molten metal is poured into the mold through the sprue. Once the metal cools, the form is separated and the casting is taken out and finished.
Depending on the preparation of the form and the porous nature of the stone, cast items might have characteristic small pits. That is the nature of sand and tufa casting and Indian Hand Made.
The US Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and its recent Amendments require that items described as Native American or Indian be made by an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Furthermore, government regulations suggest that all attributions include the Native American Indian's name, tribe and federal tribal enrollment number. Because it is impossible to identify the artist for many vintage items, even if they are authentic Indian made items, we cannot and will not use the words Native American or Indian in association with such pieces.