Who is this little guy?

Any insight into this nice inlay piece? Signed CB, and nice quality silverwork. Unusual design, to me anyway. Is it a Kachina? Monster Slayer?

Calvin Begay, Cynthia Begay? Charlie Bowie? Any ideas?


Would call this a “native style” piece without further classification. The piece is a production casting, and may well be offshore production. A lot of this type of jewelry is attributed to Calvin Begay - who is a real person, but whose name is often used to sell items he didn’t make.


Thank you. It didn’t look like anything I had seen before.


The design itself is in the style of Ray Tracey, a Navajo artist who’s workshop in the late 70’s and early 80’s was a Neighbor to my brother’s old shop in Gallup. Ray pioneered this unique style, and ruffled a lot of feathers within the now defunct Indian Arts and Crafts Association community because he used lost wax casting rather than hand fabrication as a means to produce his work.

Ray’s work was wildly popular for many years, and the value, originality, and popularity of his unique style spawned numerous imitators and imitations of his work, many of which are produced in offshore workshops in Asia.

Ray is still around, and his work is still uniquely beautiful. https://www.traceydesignsinc.com


That’s super-good info! Thank you! I can see how modernistic designs like this would be considered “outside”, for sure. I will look for examples of his work. Always curious! Love learning about these things :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I did a little digging on Ray, who is a great character! I read an article about him in Cowboys and Indians online just now, and wonder if this might be from his licensed shop in Japan. It sure could be a Samurai Kachina! (Or Yei) :sunglasses::wink:

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I can tell you from the quality of the work and choice of materials (not bad, but not outstanding), this is not something Ray would put his name on, or authorize.

And yes, Ray can be quite a character :slight_smile: