Object photography

Image © Dennis Helmar, 2008.
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Object description

  • Jesse Monongya (Hopi and Diné (Navajo), birth 1952)
  • Spiritual Hand, 2002
  • Gold, opal, coral, turquoise
  • New Mexico, United States
  • H: 1 1/2 in, W: 2 3/4 in, D: 2 in (H: 3.8 cm, W: 7.0 cm, D: 5.1 cm)
  • Museum Purchase, 2002
  • E301995
  • Uses inlaid designs and precious stones in innovative ways
  • Depicts Navajo sun and moon

Jesse Monongya transforms time-honored motifs from his Native heritage into contemporary jewelry. The circular pendant is double-sided-one face showing a stylized Navajo sun, the other an opal symbolizing the full moon. Along the top edge, a band of gold culminates in a decorated hand, which is a symbol of spirituality, based on the artist's title of this work.


This is a cuff-style bracelet made with a base of gold. Turquoise, coral, and opal stones are used to create geometric patterns along the top edge. The length of the cuff is segmented into long strips of color next to shorter bands or stripes. At the bottom center a small circle decorated with a round face sits on the edge. A snakelike band of gold winds along the top center edge and ends in a hand decorated with opal at the palm.

Exhibition History

  • Intersections, Native American Art in a New Light, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.; June 24, 2006 through November 27, 2011
  • Power and Beauty: A New Native American Art Gallery at the Peabody Essex Museum, Peabody Essex Museum; 2003 through 2005


Mr. Jesse Monongya