Vintage Zuni Lucy Ceshu 5 piece bird set
Five individual masterworks by Zuni artist, Lucy Ceshu.
This is a rare large set consisting of a bracelet, ring, clip earrings and a brooch. I’ve seen this design called birds or “melon heads.” These figures have tiny details including dots and dash inlays carefully set into the background stone or shell. Inlaid with jet, turquoise and shell.
Although examples of this maker’s work have been around for awhile, the creator of this design is still somewhat debated. I’ve heard these attributed to Lucy Ceshu and to John Lucio. Personally, I lean more toward Lucy Ceshu as John Lucio’s work is usually heftier, with chunkier cuts and his famous eagle dancer inlays have a completely different look, often with a “pillow cut” shell for the head, just an overall different aesthetic. Then, to confuse the maker issue, the earrings are marked with a stamped, angular “J.” And, if you look closely at the earrings, the red sections on the wings look more like coral rather than the spiny oyster used on the other, unmarked pieces. And, the unmarked pieces all include silver disks with a single dome in the center. The earrings do not have that detail. Anyway, whoever made these, all the pieces are wonderfully done.
The bracelet measures 6 1/4″ inside circumference and the center bird, 2 1/8″ top to bottom. The brooch is just under 2″ by 1 1/4″ tall. The ring is a size 8. The set is in excellent shape overall with light wear to the silver and the sets. There is a small (less than 1/8″) stable crack in the right side of the chest piece in the white shell. All stones are stable and secure.