British Museum collections, £12.99
Length: 42.000 cm (overall, without the
Width: 16.000 cm
Room 26: North America
Bob Haozous, Apache Necklace
Chiracahua Apache (Inde') / Navajo
(Dine'), AD 1990
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
This provocative necklace is by the artist and sculptor Bob Haozous (born 1943). Though the materials (silver and turquoise) and simple silversmithing techniques are typical of jewellery from the Southwest, the necklace is otherwise very unusual.
In part this is due to its form and composition. The crescent-shaped silver plaque, the suspended and bound ivory figures and the blond hair, denoting scalp locks, evoke Plains male jewellery, particularly the gorgets and trophy necklaces that were worn to bestow power on the wearer. Decorative elements on the necklace can be associated with the Apache: the cross-shaped symbols denote the four sacred directions, while other motifs can be linked to Mexican leatherworking.
The necklace is wry and challenging in tone. It depicts conflict, referring to the Chiracahua Apache's reputation as fearsome warriors who showed little mercy for their captives. Haozous is using jewellery to comment on the history of contact and Native American identity, with a piece that is neither romanticised nor decorative. He intended the necklace to draw on Apache aesthetics, to show 'what Indian (sic) people would wear .... I call it Apache Necklace just to show that there is potential for another [type of] statement' (Interview held with B. Haozous in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1997).
S. Kenagy, 'Bob Haozous', American Indian Art Magazine (Summer 1990), pp. 66-73
J. Waldron, 'Bob Haozous', Southwest Art (August 1992), pp. 62-67
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)