The Old Zuni Mission lies in the heart of Zuni Pueblo. It was built by the Spanish in 1629 and named "Our Lady of Guadalupe Church". It eventually fell into ruins and was excavated and renovated beginning in 1966. The priest at the time approached Zuni artist Alex Seowtewa about designing and carving the confessional in the church. And while Alex was at work on this project he was visited by his elderly father, Charlie Chuyate, who told his son stories about the old Church. He recalled that in olden times kachina paintings decorated the walls of the mission.
These ancient kachinas or kokos were reminders to the people that they must lead their lives according to both Zuni tradition and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Alex researched this information with two elders of the Pueblo who were each over one hundred years old. They were able to recall from their childhood memories of playing inside the old mission that there had, indeed, been kokos painted on the walls of the mission that was now just being restored.
In February of 1970, Alex began the project never realizing that it would become the better part of his life's work. In the past thirty years Alex and his sons have committed themselves to the completion of this project. The Mission has been visited by Jacqueline Onassis and Mother Theresa among other noted individuals. Alex has been given an honorary Doctorate Degree, an award for excellence in art from the Governor of New Mexico and was invited to travel to the Soviet Union where he was awarded the Fine Artists Union Award from the President of the Union.
The sale of the first three corn maidens allowed us to
send these supplies to Dr. Seowtewa!!!
The murals are now near completion and at this point whatever funding there has been is diminishing. In an effort to assist Dr. Seowtewa and his family in the completion of this tribute to the Zuni People, David has made this Zuni Corn Maiden Sculpture from sterling silver by the "lost wax casting" method. Inspired by corn maiden fetish carvings and the importance of the corn maidens to the history of the Zuni People, he designed this maiden to be sold and all proceeds to be used for purchasing whatever paints and supplies Dr. Seowtewa and his sons may need to continue this valuable project.
All the maidens are now SOLD!
Our Thanks to the collectors who purchased them!
The Seowtewas have made high quality posters of a particular part of the murals and they sell them to help defray the costs of creating this incredible legacy of the Shiwi.
If you are planning a trip to Zuni and are interested in visiting the Old Zuni Mission you MUST check with the Pueblo of Zuni Tourism Department to see if tours are being given.
If you are interested in learning more about this poster and how to obtain one, or if you wish to make a donation directly to the "Old Zuni Mission Restoration Fund" please write to The Old Zuni Mission Restoration Project, P. O. Box 203, Zuni, NM 87327