Navajo Small Vintage Hand Forged and Stamped Copper Ladle [SOLD]

26154-ladle.jpg

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Unknown Maker
  • Category: Other Items
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Copper
  • Size: 12-½” long;
    Bowl:3-¼” diameter,1-⅜” deep
  • Item # 26154
  • SOLD

A Diné friend has identified this copper ladle as something similar to what was used to dip water out of large buckets that were found at the sheep camps or inside of hogans of his youth. He stated, “When I was young, they had big buckets, like the blue enamel kind you can buy at the trading post, the ladles were attached to the side.” For much of the 20th century, most of the Navajo Reservation did not have running water. Even today, in some remote areas of the reservation, 40% of the homes still do not have running water. While today, residents can obtain bottled water in town for drinking, back then drinking water was a precious commodity and was used sparingly. A sturdy ladle was a necessary item for every household. Attached to a bucket, it was always available from which to drink. A smaller ladle like this one could also be used to serve stew or soup.

While manufactured spoons and ladles were available at the trading posts on the reservation as early as the beginning of the 20th century, these items would have been costly and if a family was lucky enough to have a talented smith in the family, a hand forged and decorated ladle would have been preferred. It is most likely that this hand forged copper ladle is from the very early 20th century, making it around one hundred years old. It has a simple stamped sunburst design along the handle. A round bowl was carefully soldered to the handle. The end of the handle has a loop where a wire has been attached. Looking at the piece is like looking back into the history of the Navajo Nation, back to a time when winter was a time for hearing traditional stories around a wood stove at night.


Condition:  the Navajo Small Vintage Hand Forged and Stamped Copper Ladle is in very good condition.

Provenance: from a Santa Fe Collector

Recommended Reading:  The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths by John Adair


Close up view of the handle decorations.
Unknown Maker
  • Category: Other Items
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Copper
  • Size: 12-½” long;
    Bowl:3-¼” diameter,1-⅜” deep
  • Item # 26154
  • SOLD

26154-ladle.jpg26154-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.