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Art, rug auction at Smoki Museum offers array of Native American works

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->An Apache basket, a Tohono O’odham basket, Hopi kachinas and a Navajo contemporary chief blanket are only a few of the items that will be available during the annual Smoki Museum Spring Indian Art and Navajo Rug Auction.  <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->An Apache basket, a Tohono O’odham basket, Hopi kachinas and a Navajo contemporary chief blanket are only a few of the items that will be available during the annual Smoki Museum Spring Indian Art and Navajo Rug Auction. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

For collectors of Native American rugs and artwork, it's a buyer's marker, according to Linda Young, chairman of an auction that takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Smoki Museum in Prescott.

"We have pottery, baskets, kachinas, wall décor, jewelry and all sorts of beautiful and different things" coming from local consignors, she said.

These pieces are usually from residents who often are downsizing, she added.

All sorts of Native American tribes are represented in the artwork auction. Pottery in a variety of sizes will be on the auction block, including works of well-known Hopi potter Frog Woman and other big names, Young said. Jewelry up for bid is "gorgeous," from squash blossom necklaces, turquoise necklaces with jaclas hanging down to Hopi silver overlay earrings and Zuni silver-inlay pieces. Prospective bidders will also have a chance at belt buckles, one by Gibson Nez, another well-known artist.

Kachinas and other carved figures - one an unusual snake dancer by award-winning Hopi artist Marlin Pinto - will go home with a lucky bidder.

People interested in the art pieces will be able to preview them from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Smoki Museum, with the auction to take place at 5 p.m.

The final portion of the art auction will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the preview running from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

During the same preview periods on Friday and Saturday for the art pieces, those who want to place bids on Native American rugs will have the chance to peruse the array before the rug auction begins at 1 p.m. Saturday.

More than 300 rugs will go up for bid, about half from Prescott-area consignors and the other half from the Navajo reservation.

"There are all kinds and a good variety of various types and sizes of rugs," Young said. For some, the bidding will start below $100 and for others it may go as high as $10,000, she said, with a wide range of prices in between.

Local rugs on the auction block tend to be vintage, while the rugs coming from the reservation are new, fresh off the weaver's loom.

A benefit the museum has added to this year's event is a group of knowledgeable volunteers who will help people coming to the previews understand auctions on Indian art, the terminology and what to expect.

Young said the auction offers "high-quality selections at low prices - as low as I have seen them in the 10 years I have been here."

The Smoki Museum is located at 147 N. Arizona Ave. For more information, call the museum at 445-1230 or visit www.smokimuseum.org.

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