STONE & IRONWOOD FIGURINES BY THE SERI (COMCAAK)

 

The Seri live along the desert coast of the Sea of Cortez in two villages: Punta Chueca (Socaaix) and El Desemboque (Haxöl Iihom). They call themselves Comcaac. Traditionally hunters and fisherman, they fished the Gulf of Mexico and off the islands known as Tiburon (Tahejöc) and San Esteban (Cofteecöl). Additional foodstuffs were gathered from the desert surrounding their villages, including fruit from the cardon cactus.

Competition from Mexican commercial fishing operations has seriously   impacted their fishing and nearly decimated the turtle population that once helped sustain the Seri.

Their baskets or hataal are woven of haat or torote, also known as limberbush or jatropha cuneata. The red-brown color comes from the inner bark of the root of the heepol, white ratany (kraneria grayi) plant. The black now used is an aniline dye. Their beautiful, strong basketry work can be found in our "More Baskets" Gallery.

They traditionally used ironwood for such objects bowls, spoons and rasps but beginning in the 1960s, began carving sea animals. Jose Astorga was the first carver. In recent decades competition from Mexican wood-working shops with power tools and the decimation of the ironwood trees by charcoal-makers has all but eliminated the craft. One notable carver, Solario Martinez, is carving out of stone he hand quarries. (see bottom of this page)

Selected References:

  • The Seris. By David Burckhalter
  • Among Turtle Hunters & Basket Makers: Adventures with the Seri Indians. David Burckhalter
  • The Seri Indians of Sonora Mexico. Bernice Johnston
  • People of the desert and sea: ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. Richard Felger and Mary Moser
  • Singing the Turtles to Sea: The Comcáac (Seri) Art and Science of Reptiles. Gary Nabhan

Both Roadrunners were carved by Manuel Romero and are each 10 inches long. The taller one is SOLD while the smaller one behind it is SOLD. Manuel also carved the two quail. Just over 5 inches high, they are each $90. (The quail at left is SOLD).

The dolphin in front was carved by Manuel Romero and is 6.5 inches long. $60. The one behind it is 7.75 inches long and was carved by Rosalinda Astorga. $60.  Both sea turtles are by Manuel. The larger one is 6.25 inches long and $80. The smaller is 5.25 inches long and SOLD.

A marvelous flying bird by Raul Morales.  8 inches high and a wingspan of 11 inches. $85.

This resting desert bighorn is by Alejandro Diaz - one of the best and best-known of the Seri carvers over the past 40 years. 7 inches high and SOLD The owl is by Dolores Torres ad 8 inches high. $65.

 

A great shark, slipping through the water, carved by Alejandro Diaz. 13 inches long. SOLD.

 

 

SOLARIO MARTINEZ

He -with his family- is the only Seri currently carving in stone rather than ironwood. He walks into the Sierra de los Cirios Mountains where he mines the stone with a pickaxe and carries it out in a back pack. Once home, using chisel, hacksaw and a variety of files he fashions birds, seals, turtles…the full range of wildlife known to the Seri.

The stone figures by below range from 3 to 4.25 inches long.

From left to right: $36, SOLD $25, $25, $36, $25, $36