Hopi artist, Ruben Saufkie Sr., is a notable silversmith and has illustrious relatives, as well: the late, revered Lawrence Saufkie, his great-uncle, and the equally celebrated Paul Saufkie, Sr, his grandfather.
This arresting pendant is dedicated to the buffalo, the iconic spirit of the Plains; no a usual subject for a Hopi, farming in the high desert.
Nevertheless, the buffalo are hunted for survival: meat, clothing, warm blankets, hide for tepees, bones for tools, etc.
Therefore, the buffalo, especially depicted within an arrowhead, as in this handsome piece, is a symbol for good luck, good health, happiness, and prosperity.
The buffalo head is stylized, and abstract, yet perfectly recognizable, with horn and shaggy pelt.
Encased in an arrowhead form, it symbolizes the prayer for success in hunting, as well as the other properties of the buffalo.
A moon and a star stand out against the polished silver at the top; there is a spiral, that refers to water, incorporated into the head of the animal, and a jagged line ending in a triangular arrowhead shape, at the bottom.
These are indications of hopes for the hunter’s arrows to go straight and true, and also for the blessing of water, as well as meat, etc.
The technique is flawless; the design is decorative and graphic.
Every element is integrated: notice how the edges of the pendant’s arrowhead form are gracefully notched, to accord with the curves and angles of the design.
The buffalo’s face is polished, but his fur is left unpolished, with a light texture, to indicate the actual appearance of the animal.
Against the matte black of the background, the silver design stands out beautifully.
A wonderful design and excellent workmanship join with the spiritual message the artist illustrated.
For men or women, this is an elegantly striking pendant.