Up for your consideration is this vintage Native American handmade bolo, featuring a multistone inlaid sterling silver Eagle Dancer, created by Zuni legend William Zunie (1938-1983). William Zunie was an exceptional Zuni Silversmith/Lapidarist who specialized in channel inlay work. His work is highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors. This Eagle dancer is one of his hallmark pieces. Although the design is the same for every bolo, each piece can be considered one of a kind because William would change the position or size or color of the inlay to make it unique. The stones used in this bolo are turquoise, coral, mother of pearl, jet, and abalone.
The main bolo piece measures 3 inches tall by 2-5/8 inches wide. Locking Bennett pat. pending clasp on the back. The silver tips are 2 inches long. The black leather bolo tie is in very good shape. The cord including the tips is about 38 inches long. Excellent overall condition needing only a polish.
This piece was purchased from a private collection. It is stamped WM. Zuni on a plaque. circa 1960-70's. You can read more about this artist and his wife Geneva on page 29 of Zuni The Art & the People, Vol 1 by Ed & Barbara Bell.
This bolo has a Bennett Pat Pend slide. The bolo slide on the backs on Native American bolos can aid in determining the age of a vintage bolo. Bolos were not made much before the 1930's. During that time, the backs of bolos were made with coin silver wires, not sterling. 1941 was the year sterling came into play. Bolos marked with a Bennett Pat Pend C31 slide were made between 1957 until some time in 1967. Slides marked with a Bennett Pat Pend slide were made from 1967 - 1983. Sometime in 1983 saw the elimination of the stamped Bennett slide.