APACHE GOLD AND YAQUI SILVER
by Chuck Trebor
BURRO PACKER FROM OLD MEXICO VISITS SANTA FE IN NEW MEXICO
AY CHIHUAHUA, I THEENK EEZ TIME TO GO HOME!"
Second only to St. Augustine, Florida as the oldest city in the U.S.,
Santa Fe, New Mexico sports an architectural scheme of adobe colored
buildings in such pristine condition that one would wonder if this
was the movie set for Zorro. Since its founding in 1610 however,
Santa Fe has seen many changes, and its colonial past has now become
a topic of much interest to its residents as well as to the thousands
of visitors who flock to this cities' numerous fiestas and
celebrations. Not until the early 1920s, when a group of Santa Fe
citizens began to avidly collect and study Indian art, eventually
donating it to the School of American Research, was that so much
interest stirred in this field. Since then, Santa Fe has witnessed
the growth and branching out of many Indian arts shows. It's easy to
see how the "cowboy stuff" shows followed naturally. And as we
broaden our prospectives, fed exuberantly by our curiosity and desire
to collect, we have gone on to more remote and distant cultures which
are just as historically important and relevant as those found in the
U.S. From the North American Indian cultures of Canada to the Meso-
American regions of Mexico and on down to the last archipelagos of
Chile, this continent has been for centuries the backdrop for the
greatest mule packers yearnings of all times.
If ever there existed one place that all the prospectors, the Indiana
Joneses and buccaneers of the world have died in search of, it would
indeed have to be the WHITEHAWK ASSOCIATES INC., Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ethnographic Antiques Show. Like the lost Adams Diggings, the Tayopa
Mine or Moctezuma's hidden gold, this spectacular, treasure laden
event, now in its 21st year, is heralded as among the finest in the
world-- not only for serious collectors but also for curators of many
prominent museums in search of exquisite new display pieces.
Certainly most exhibitors and buyers with a long history of coming to
this event would not be as awe struck as this reporter, who-- from a
Mexican vantage point-- would be inclined to assess it as follows.
"To The Victor Go the Spoils"
Since the discovery of the New World (better known as the Americas)
some 500 years ago, the Spanish, Dutch, English, French and many
others have staked a claim on this land in one form or another. From
pillage, plunder and even rape in some cases, to seduction, marriage
and religion in others-- this continent offered untold riches. To
those who came fleeing political and religious oppression, it also
provided a place of fresh beginnings.
Millions of words, in every language, have been chronicled on these
events, some with unequivocal authority and others legendary. As we
look towards the turn of the millennium, many collectors and buyers
of today are realizing a new found maturity and appreciation for
these annals and the few relics which still remain . Call it booty or
call it plunder, as many do, but if this is the reason why such shows
are so successful, then we must continue with the endeavor.
We as collectors and dealers are the mere custodians of these
treasures, never really owning them. Our job is to guard and covet
them, just as the next generation of collectors will in their time.
That next generation will be the collector-buyer we are perpetuating
today. And as sure as plunking down 50 bucks on Mr. Ed in the eighth,
in a race where all the horses are named Mr. Ed, that next generation
of aficionados will be twice as informed and researched as we.
These new collectors want to know where that 18th century sword came
from, who owned it, who made it, they also shrewdly look it over
searching for restorations, additions or changes made. If the seller
can't produce this data, chances are his prospective customer will
spend his money elsewhere. Never before has a buying public been more
informed and more astute than the collector of today, and thanks, in
large part, to shows of this caliber.
Much praise to the organizers of this show are in order. As for the
arts dealers, well... they are the show, and with the addition of new
exhibitors from as faraway as Argentina and Mexico, this event will
continue to grow and without a doubt, to dazzle us, for years to