Teddy Weahkee (c. 1890 - 1965)

In 1942, John Adair, author of the classic study The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths, described Teddy Weahkee and Leekya Deyuse as Zuni's "most expert turquoise-workers." A veteran of World War I, Weahkee attended school in Phoenix; and, upon returning to Zuni, he participated in the archaeological dig at Hawikuh (1917-1923) where he gained firsthand knowledge of pre-contact Zuni art forms.

Adair notes that, when Weahkee began working as a lapidarist and carver in the 1920s, traders typically provided artisans with turquoise and then employed another craftworker to mount the stone on silver. The mythological Knife Wing figure was a popular design motif of this era. Such figures were produced by Weahkee and other Zuni stoneworkers and then set on the tops of Navajo-made silver boxes. While Weahkee produced flat relief figures like the Knife Wing, he also carved full round animal forms. Some of these were similarly mounted on box tops, but others were sold as freestanding fetishes.

Weahkee became well-known for a style of fetish carving that closely resembles historic Zuni forms. He also carved highly distinctive human figures. Weahkee's daughters Edna Leki and Mary Tsikewa carried on the carving tradition, as did Edna's daughters Dinah Gasper and Lena Boone.

Weahkee also worked as a farmer and a guide; and, in the 1950s, he served as Zuni's governor.

Teddy Weahkee (Zuni)
Jet, shell, turquoise, coral, green stone?, silver
no date
3.5 in. x 2.75 in.
KMA 89.016.1007


Adair, John. The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1944, p. 65, 103, 148-149.
Bauver, Robert. Masterworks and Eccentricities: The Druckman Collection. Pittsburgh: Four Winds Publishing, 2002, p. 11.
Ellsberg, Helen. “Ketohs.” American Indian Art Magazine: 19 (Summer, 1977): 71.
Heard Museum. Bedazzled: Masterworks of Jewelry and Beadwork from the Heard Museum. Phoenix, Ariz.: Heard Museum, 2002, p. 69.
McManis, Kent. A Guide to Zuni Fetishes and Carvings. Tucson, Ariz.: Treasure Chest Books, 1995, p. 34.
McManis, Kent and Laurie. Zuni Fetish Carvers of the 1970s: A Bridge from Past to Present. Santa: The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, 2006, p. 22-25, 34.
McManis, Kent. Zuni Fetish Carvers: The Mid-Century Masters. Santa Fe: The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, 2003, p. 9, 17-19, 45-48.
McManis, Kent. Zuni Fetishes and Carvings, one-volume, expanded edition. Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2004, p. 76, 77, 78, 82.
Rodee, Marian and James Ostler. The Fetish Carvers of Zuni. Albuquerque: The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico; Zuni, NM: The Pueblo of Zuni Arts .....and Crafts, 1990, p. 21-24, 28, 55 105.
Schaff, Gregory. American Indian Jewelry I: 1,200 Artist Biographies. Santa Fe, N.Mex.: CIAC Press, 2003.
Slaney, Deborah C. Blue Gem, White Metal: Carvings and Jewelry from the C. G. Wallace Collection. Phoenix: Heard Museum, 1998, p. 15, 25, 16, 29.
Slaney, Deborah. “Zuni Figurative Carving from the C.G. Wallace Collection.” American Indian Art Magazine 19 (Winter, 1993): 68, 73-74.