“Water Dragon of Compassion” Cuff
Hopi artist Ruben Saufkie Sr. is a master silversmith with illustrious relatives: the late, revered Lawrence Saufkie, his great-uncle, and the equally celebrated Paul Saufkie, Sr, his grandfather.
Through his pieces, Ruben says, “[I am] doing my best to share our Hopi teachings of finding balance, harmony, and unity which leads to peace.”
This exceptional bracelet epitomizes that aim with dazzling beauty and workmanship.
At first glance, the swirling design appears to be an abstract, richly ornamental pattern but reveals itself to depict the traditional Hopi Avanyu, or water dragon, a symbol of good luck, happiness, and gratitude.
Water is the source of life, and especially precious to the dry-farming Hopi.
Brilliantly polished silver is overlaid, with superb skill, on a matte black background.
Narrow, curling tendrils and curving forms, of glistening silver, swirl and swoop across the broad cuff, creating a design of extravagant animation,
Filling the entire center of the bracelet, the effect is like richly patterned fabric.
The detail is extraordinary: look at the teeth in the mouth of the dragon, its clearly shown eye, the beautiful shapes of the curlicues on its tail, and so much more.
Grandly complex, yet with each detail clear and precise, the design is as gorgeous as the workmanship is remarkable.
Following the artist’s aim, the cuff exemplifies “balance, harmony and unity”, as well as beauty and artistry.
This younger member of the celebrated Saufkie family is definitely worthy of his forebears, judging by this magnificent bracelet.