Zuni Inlay Work Started in 1932 - Thought You Would be Interested

Came across this interesting article in the Gallup Independent who had an Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Edition in 1948. This information helps date old Zuni inlay work. I will write some of the article.

Ted Weahake Found Way to Make it Stick by J. Wesley Huff

In August 1934 something new in the line of Indian jewelry appeared in the exhibits at the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. It was Zuni inlay done in turquoise, jet, pink and white shell and created by a Zuni jem cutter, Teddy Weahake, an overseas veteran of the first World War.

Teddy had made his first piece of inlay in 1932, a kinfe wing bird which he mounted on a bow guard to wear on ceremonial occasions. He had discovered the secret of mounting the fitted stones ad shells permanently to a silver back, and this secret he kept for several years while other gem cutters tried unsuccessfully to copy his work.

The knife wing design mounted on the bow guard created a sensation when he first wore it in Zuni, and Teddy reported he was encouraged to develop other new jewelry styles by the praise his first piece received.

During the next two years he turned out piece after piece of inlay. From the paintings of rainbow gods on the ceremonial altars he designed a rainbow in inlay. He then developed a dragon fly design. The inlays were mounted on bracelets, rings, pins and earrings. He put the work of a full two years on display at the 1934 Ceremonial. The inlay was included in the exhibit of the Charles H. Kelsey Trading Co. at Zuni, and arranged by George Rummage, curio dealer for Kelsey. The inlay pieces created a sensation and received all the special prizes awarded in that classification.

The work was proclaimed as an outstanding development in Indian jewelry design holding to ancient traditions but bringing something new to the art of creating jewelry. Teddy Weahake was called the “Zuni artist” and was praised lavishly for his creations. But he told no one how he made the inlays stick. …


Thank you for sharing this article. It has two subjects I enjoy, history and N. A. jewelry.


@Jason Thank you for sharing this informative article. I always enjoy learning about the history of Native American jewelry.


@Jason , fabulous article with some very valuable information, thank you!

And it’s lovely to have the article in plain text AND get to see it as it first appeared in the paper. I love that photo of the knifewing and rainbow man.


Great information…Thank You!
Also isn’t it fun to see the other headlines in August 1948! Highlighted by several Zuni articles and “Boys initiated in Whipping Ceremony.” Love it!


This article is fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing! I wonder if published resources have ever seen this and used it for dating.

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Great info to have, thanks for sharing! Also nice to see the original source.

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Thanks @Jason for sharing this information. It’s really good to learn this. Makes me wonder when Teddy finally let the others learn how he affixed the inlay pieces.


some clues to what glues might have been used in the 1930’s can be found here.