Best Zuni Dan Simplicio Bolo Mosaic Inlay Horse Head Beautiful Work 1957-67
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Best Zuni Dan Simplicio Bolo Mosaic Inlay Horse Head Beautiful Work 1957-67:
The Simplicio family created horse heads but they are all somewhat different and I have believed this is a piece by the great Dan Simplicio himself. My attribution has been confirmed by Dan Simplicio Jr, thanks to Ernie Bulow. Dan did share his designs with family members but there are some distinctive features of this piece which were exclusive to him. In contrast to the elaborate silver work on the pieces by Chauncey and Isabelle, this horse head bolo, however, is shaped in the simple round shape and with simple elegant application of silver. The round piece of brown shell is set in a hand scalloped bezel and that is framed with individually hand made and hand applied, simple raindrops, each identical in size and shape to the others and without stamping. There is no stamp work here at all, no leaves and no turquoise either. It is really the antithesis of Chauncy and Isabelle's pieces, which are covered with stamp work, applied drops and leaves and turquoise. This horse has the forelock and beautiful silver work on the inlaid halter. All of this is consistent with Dan's horse heads but not of Chauncy and Isabelle's. These were some of my reasons for the identification. Now Dan Simplicio Jr. has confirmed my attribution.
The simple elegance of this entire piece is just perfection. I love it. It has the original long and heavy tips and the original tie, which is in great shape for such an old tie. It is in very soft and flexible, condition. This is just a great piece, using richly colored brown shell inlaid into which is the mother of pearl horse head (highly iridescent mother of pearl was used, especially on the horse's neck), and inlaid silver halter, made of separate dash shapes of silver. This horse has an eye and a nose, too. He's finished! Not all Dan's horses were and not all Chauncy's were, either. A lot of them are without eyes and noses and using the forelock is rare; something I've only seen in Dan Simplicio's horses. This horse has an intelligent face and nice detail for eye, nose and mouth, and I will repeat: he has the forelock which Dan liked to include.
The piece is at least coin silver and it sports the Bennett C31 closure, which was used between 1957 and 1967. There are some marks on the back of the bolo which suggest the possibility that the bolo was originally made with wires on the back and converted to the Bennett clasp, but I'm not positive this was done. In either case, the dates are consistent with Dan's work. Dan lived from 1917-1969 and I think he'd have made this in the late 1950s, though he could have made it earlier, even pre-Bennett.
Dan did a huge amount of work for C. G. Wallace, was collected by him and heavily represented in the CG Wallace Catalog for the Sotheby's sale. He worked in more styles than one could imagine and always did wonderful work. His work commands the top prices at the best galleries and sale houses and he's represented in the best of museums as well. I have priced this considerably below market.
This bolo measures about 1-20/16" (7.46 cm ) in diameter including the hand made scalloped bezel and applied plain raindrops framing the piece. The tips, nice and heavy, are 2-1/2" (6.35 cm) tall, appear to be original. The tie seems to be original, too, is flexible and soft. It measures 43" (109.22 cm) end to end with the tips included. This bolo is in superb vintage, wearable and collectible condition and it is a great treasure. I love it and I think you will too. It's not just museum quality. It has a magnificent presence. It glows in your mind long after you've seen it. What a treasure!
I think everyone knows how highly Dan Simplicio's work is prized and valued. He's one of the great Zuni artists and his work sells at top prices. This bolo is a prime example of his work and it's a great prize, highly collectible.
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