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These two large turquoise mosaic overlay birds were reportedly found in a jar in Arizona's Verde Valley. Shell mosaic overlays indicated the high status of their ownders. The construction and materials of the pendants--layering argillite and turquoise onto another rare material, such as marine shells acquired through trade with the coast--reflects their value. Birds are highly symbolic to Native peoples of the American Southwest. Appearing as early as 1000 BC, bird depictions occur in rock art, on pottery, and as jewelry and fetishes. Birds are messengers between the earth-bound and sacred sky beings, thus they often symbolize "flight" into the spirit world.
Kathleen Howe, Nuance of Sky: Edgar Heap of Birds Invites Spirit Objects to Join His Art Practice (Claremont: Pomona College Museum of Art, 2013), 18 illustrated/color.
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