Fully Beaded Zuni Pueblo OLLA Maiden

C4537G-doll.jpg

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Unknown Maker
  • Category: Beadwork
  • Origin: Zuni Pueblo, SHE-WE-NA
  • Medium: beads over wood
  • Size: 12-¾ inches
  • Item # C4537G
  • Price: $850

The origin of Zuni beaded dolls does not seem to be documented in any written source that we were able to locate.  It has been rumored that Zuni Indian trader C. G. Wallace encouraged their production to those members of the pueblo who were not making fetishes and jewelry.  It is said that he welcomed a new item of moderate value for sale.  If this is true, then the Zuni beadwork had its beginning in the 1920s.

"From their beginnings, in the years between the two World Wars, these little figures came perilously close to extinction when White buyers found them ‘too corny.’ But some beaders at Zuni never gave up and now these charmers are enjoying a whole new era of popularity and an unequalled eruption of creativity at home in Zuni!” (Salkeld).

This beaded doll represents the famous Zuni Olla Maidens who parade and dance with water ollas on their heads.  The beadwork is extraordinary.  On her back hangs a beaded shawl.  It is difficult to date such an item.  There is some wear pattern on the bottom of the feet, so it does have some age, but probably not too old.


Condition: excellent condition with minor wear pattern on bottom of feet.

Provenance: this Fully Beaded Zuni Pueblo OLLA Maiden is from the collection of a gentleman from California

Reference: And the Bead Goes On! - The Vision Persists: Native Folk Arts of the West by Stefani Salkeld (Author) 1995

Relative Links: Zuni Pueblo, SHE-WE-NA, Beadwork

Alternate close up view of the face and OLLA.

Unknown Maker
  • Category: Beadwork
  • Origin: Zuni Pueblo, SHE-WE-NA
  • Medium: beads over wood
  • Size: 12-¾ inches
  • Item # C4537G
  • Price: $850

C4537G-doll.jpgC4537G-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.