Bolo with Native Language on the Back That Appears to be a Buffalo Dancer

This bolo has me completely stumped. The construction is unique and not like anything I’ve seen before. There is also writing on the back that won’t translate from either Navajo or Hopi. I also have had no luck identifying the hallmark. At first I thought maybe someone had just cut out around the figure but then I took pictures and it appears to be two sheets of silver.
Can someone please help? I’m interested in the construction, possible age, level of skill of the artist and even a translation of the title on the back. Thanks so much for your help!
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Shockingly I turned up the answer. Freda Woodman Hansen, Navajo. Hougart’s 4th calls her Freda Hansen and shows a radiating sun hallmark, but also “Bitni Dzeez Ba’a.” FH clearly are her initials.


wall of text warning :grin:

tried to clean up the hallmark shot



found this page…somehow

read chickfarmers reply showing correct spelling of the hallmark

control F search DZAAZ on that page returns

F. yfdineesh-dgot (yfdiniit, yiidf-
noot, yizhdinoot, yidinfil, yidf-
noot) (bidinool-) C-l. ymfsh-don
(vinit, yot, jot, yiniil, yinot) (bf-
dol-) P. yiniit-don (yimiit, yff-
nfft, jiinut, yfnfil, yinoot) (ymiil-)
R. nef-niish-dooh (niit, nift, zh-
nift, nfil, noot) (niil-) O. yi-
noosh-don (yfnoot, yimdot, jff-
noot, ymool, yfnoot) (yfnool-)
dzqadi, over here. dzqqdi se-
rin, I’m sitting over here.
dzaaneez, mule.
dzaaneez yazhi, young mule.
dzas, dzaas, dzaaz, dzas, dzaas,
to snow (this stem refers to the
snow itself, in contradistinction
to chift, which refers to the snow

control F search BDD returns

The Postpositions

For the sake of convenience these will be listed in conjunc-
tion with the 3rd personal pronoun bi-, him, her, it, and trans-
lated with him or it.

The postpositions of Navaho take the place of the preposi-
tions of English, and the examples given herewith will serve to
exemplify their usage.

ba, for him, in his favor

ba jttbeezh, he is boiling it for him
baa, about him, to him

ha’dt’ffsh baa ydnHti’, what are you talking about?

beeso baa ni’q, I gave him a dollar
badtk’iisji, (progressing, extending) beside him, parallel to it

bdd+k’iisjf yishddt, I am walking along beside him


WOW! I am shocked. One of my sons just told me that it looked like kindergarten work. Thanks for the help. I’ll go read about her.

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Thanks Steve. I guess I should learn Navajo.

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it’s always an adventure when you post another one of you acquisitions :smile:


Oh yes Steve some of them do get interesting and you always manage to help! :rofl: Thanks

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@mmrogers would you please give me your silversmithing opinion about the construction of this bolo? It appears that the figure was designed with a pretty skilled hand but the opening seems to have been cut in a rather crude fashion. Could this be due to a lack of modern equipment or was it simply a lack of skill? There seems to be a disparity that is leaving me torn. I really like the subject matter but I keep focusing on the construction-can’t decide if I like it or not. Thanks for your help.
I have not found anything similar to compare it to.


Hi Island Momma. The saw work on the figure looks professional, but the cutout into which the figure is soldered does not. The cutout is amateurish to the point that it does not look like the work of the same silversmith. I’m guessing they made several of these at a time, and the outline cutouts were done by a less skilled family member. It’s pretty common for several members of a family to be involved in a project, and I’m thinking that was what happened here.


Thanks. I wondered about that but since I have never done any smithing I thought I would ask a pro. So as this sits do you have any idea of value? Thanks again

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Honestly can’t say with regard to value today. Back when, something like this would have a retail value between $80 and $120 on the high side. If this one came around back in my buying and selling days, I would have taken a pass on it due to the saw work.

Jason would probably have a better idea of contemporary value.


Thank you. I tend to agree in person. I think it would look better without the overlay. Lol.

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