Leekya: Master Carver of Zuni Pueblo


By Deborah C. Slaney; published by Fresco Books. $39.95 Book + $8 Shipping (US lower 48 only; call for AK, HI, international rates) = $47.95




  • Best Multi-Cultural Book 2019
    New Mexico / Arizona Book Awards

Leekya Deyuse emerged in the early to mid-1900s as Zuni Pueblo’s most recognized commercial carver. A pioneer in the carving of turquoise and coral, he is considered by many to be Zuni’s master jeweler of his time. Leekya’s excellence in carving reached a high point by the 1950s, with his work acquired for museum and private collections worldwide.


Leekya’s work is relentlessly sought after by scholars and collectors. But research into this enigmatic artist’s history raises questions. Was he influenced by the work of ancestral Zuni carvers? Was Leekya also a silversmith, or a maker of mosaic and inlay jewelry? Did his work change over time? With this book, we learn how Leekya’s work has brought wide-reaching appreciation for the Zuni carving tradition.

Deborah C. Slaney has spent a lifetime in the field of museum anthropology, interpreting southwestern arts and culture. Slaney holds a Master’s of Liberal Arts / Museum Emphasis from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Arts in Southwestern Anthropology from the University of Arizona. Her forty-year career has included fulfilling positions with the Arizona State Museum, National Park Service’s Western Archaeological and Conservation Center, Anniston Museum of Natural History, and Heard Museum; she has served as curator of history for the Albuquerque Museum for the past seventeen years.


Slaney has produced four other books: Blue Gem, White Metal: Carvings and Jewelry from the C. G. Wallace Collection (1998); Wonders of the Weavers: Nineteenth-Century Rio Grande Weavings from the Collection of the Albuquerque Museum (2005); Jewel of the Railroad Era: Albuquerque’s Alvarado Hotel (2009); and Albuquerque Museum History Guide: Only in Albuquerque (2018).


Size: 8.5 x 5.5 in.
Pages: 144
Plates: 147 color plates; 22 photographs
ISBN: 978-1-934491-63-8