The Meaning Behind the Zuni Sunface Symbol
Zuni Pueblo is located in a beautiful valley surrounded by dramatic mesas about 150 miles west of Albuquerque, near the Arizona border. With over 10,000 tribal members, Zuni is the largest of the 19 Pueblos and the only Pueblo to speak the Zuni language.
For thousands of years, the Zuni people have farmed the land along the Zuni River, raising corn, beans, squash and other vegetables. Their cultural and religious traditions are rooted in their deep connection to the mountains, forests and deserts of their homeland.
Considered the most traditional of all of New Mexico’s Pueblos, the Zuni people have a unique language, culture and history that is the result of their geographic isolation. They express their cultural traditions through art, particularly through painting, pottery, jewelry and fetish carving.
The Zuni religion, language, agriculture and culture are passed from one generation to the next and continue to be essential parts of modern life. Today the majority of Zuni people make a living in the arts, and Zuni artists are famous for their handcrafted silver inlay jewelry, gemstone jewelry with cluster work in the petit point and needlepoint styles and beautiful hand carved fetishes.
There has also been a resurgence in traditional pottery and more and more Zuni artists are making exceptional pottery from handmade natural clay, many with traditional heart-line deer, rain bird and rosette designs. The sophisticated and extraordinary art forms of the Zuni are collected around the world and have contributed to the continuing popularity and high level of craftsmanship of Native American artwork.
The Sunface is an ancient symbol in Zuni culture, where it represents the sacred Sun Father. The Zuni have always honored the Sun’s vital role in the cycling of seasons and the success of crops, recognizing that the Sun’s warmth sustains life, enables growth, and brings joy and prosperity to the people. The symbol’s round motif depicts the Sun with a forehead split down the middle to reflect the eternal balance between sunrise and sunset. Rectangular eyes and a round mouth complete the face, and the whole is encircled by feathers that radiate outward like sunlight.
At Indian Pueblo Store, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes, and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase, and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer.
At a time when many commercially made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 40 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.