What Is the Importance of Alabaster in Native American Culture?
Alabaster is a soft stone found across the world. It’s white in most of the world, but an orange alabaster is found in Utah and is frequently used, and a green-colored alabaster exists in the Mexican state of Puebla. It’s especially prevalent in the American Southwest, and it’s been used for carving sculptures, statues, and other decorative artworks. Among the Southwestern peoples, Alabaster symbolizes purity and is said to represen t the color of a person’s soul. Consequently, brighter shades of white are more prized than darker shades.
What Is Alabaster Believed to Do?
Alabaster is believed to be a protective stone, and it’s used to safeguard the most innocent people like children and infants. It’s also used to help people cope with significant changes in their lives and to show that these changes aren’t necessarily bad. Anyone who holds alabaster in his or her hands is believed to achieve the ability to forgive others and themselves even if they’ve done terrible things. Having alabaster in the home is said to remove a person’s anger, allow them to see things from new perspectives, and grow their internal peace.
How Is Alabaster Used Among Native Americans in the Southwest?
Despite its symbolic properties, alabaster carvings don’t have roots in sacred or ceremonial purposes among Southwestern Native Americans. Alabaster sculptures are primarily artistic in nature and are carved by artisans among the Apache, Navajo and Zuni peoples. They are all hand-carved, and many sculptures are based on traditional animal fetishes. This is particularly true of Zuni carvings made by artisans like Ernest Mackel III and Jimmy Yawakia, who carve animals that are considered sacred to the Pueblo peoples.
Others, such as those made by Navajo artisan Garry Geneeha, have a more contemporary background and show scenes of Native American life, heritage, and pride. Whichever style you prefer, hand-carved alabaster statuary makes a beautiful addition to any home.
Browse Our Fine Selection of Alabaster Work
At Kachina House, we offer authentic alabaster sculptures and carvings from some of the Southwest’s great Native American artisans. When you buy from Kachina House, you’re supporting the first peoples of this continent and keeping their cultures and traditions alive for future generations. Shop our beautiful selection of handcrafted Native American alabaster carvings and sculpture art. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service, and we love to hear from people like you.