A gifted silversmith, known especially for finely detailed, overlay scenes of Navajo traditional life, as here, TiIlie’s charmingly decorative work belies her day job as a tough parole officer with the tribal police! Beautifully detailed vignettes cover the top and all four sides of this supremely handsome box.
Bordered in glittering, polished sterling, the motifs on top feature a hogan in the center with a lushly shady tree to the left, sheltering a baby in a cradleboard. Between tree and hogan, a woman in a traditional broomstick skirt is busy weaving at her loom. To the right of the hogan, are two water barrels, an axe embedded in a stump, and a pyramidal stack of firewood. In the distance at the top, cliffs on the left and right bookend rocky ground with tufts of yuccas, goats and sheep. Clouds billow above.
On the front panel, from left to right: a plant, a shed, another leafy tree, a woman standing over a fire she is tending, another woman, cooking, another plant, a ramada sheltering the table and chairs, and a smoking horno (bread oven). A couple of clouds billow above, and there is another lovely frame of gleaming silver.
The back panel starts with a shady tree on the left, then two nicely formed horses, amid more bristly desert plants, a wind-driven water pump, another tree, and a cow and calf, all under a couple of clouds and framed in silver as before.
On one end piece, there is a finely detailed wooden wagon, that large, leafy tree, and..an outhouse. The last end panel shows a kneeling woman tending her row of heathy looking cornstalks. The background of all the panels is darkened, and textured in a stippled pattern.
The well-proportioned, rectangular box is large enough to hold rings, earrings, stamps, or whatever you choose, on dresser, desk, mantel, or shelf. This is a charming and meticulously executed piece, depicting a waning way of life, that is both esthetic and functional.