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George Washington (belt buckle)

1980 Ken Cory Born: Kirkland, Washington 1943 Died: Ellensburg, Washington 1994 copper, brass, silver, enamel, garnets, mother-of-pearl 2 5/8 x 3 5/8 x 1 in. (6.8 x 9.2 x 2.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Beverly Cory 1999.66.2 Not currently on view


Luce Center Label

Ken Cory made only a few pieces of jewelry during a transitional period from 1979 to 1986. Rather than being the focus of the piece, the garnet and mother-of-pearl are accents for the enamel and metalwork. This was his way of questioning the value of materials in conventional jewelry making. The artist once said that he believed traditions “should neither be worshipped nor rejected.” Cory’s lighthearted design contrasts with that of James E. Meyer, who also made a belt buckle with this title. Meyer’s piece shows his strong commitment to jewelry traditions, in both material and subject matter. Although the two artists approach their work differently, the pieces are equally impressive and reveal different facets of the same cultural heritage.

Keywords

Occupation - political - president

Portrait male - Washington, George - head

decorative arts - jewelry

Crafts - Metal

animal parts - shell - mother of pearl

metal - brass

metal - copper

metal - silver

stone - garnet

About Ken Cory

Born: Kirkland, Washington 1943 Died: Ellensburg, Washington 1994

More works in the collection by
Ken Cory