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The Zia Sun Symbol

The sun symbol of Zia Pueblo was appropriated to represent the state of New Mexico and is proudly displayed on its State flag.

The Zia Sun Symbol - Part One

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The Zia Sun Symbol - Part Two

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The Zia Sun Symbol - Part three

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Transcript

New Mexico’s distinctive Zia sun symbol is closely associated with the state of New Mexico and was inspired by a design found on a 19th century water jar from Zia Pueblo. The design represents a circular sun with linear rays extending in four directions. To the Zia people and other cultures, four is a significant number. It is embodied in the four directions of the earth, the four seasons of the year, the four times of the day: sunrise, noon, evening and night, and in life’s four divisions of childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. Everything is bound together in a circle of life, without beginning, without end. The Zia also believe that in this Great Brotherhood of all things, humans have four sacred obligations: they must develop a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit and a devotion to the welfare of their people.

Dr. Harry Mera, a New Mexico physician and anthropologist at the Museum of Anthropology in Santa Fe was inspired by a pot that was on display in the museum. That pot, made by an anonymous Zia potter in the late 1800s featured a circle of white ringed in red and from each of the four prime directions three rays emanated from it. In the center were two triangular eyes and a rectangular mouth in black. From this pot, Dr. Mera styalized the red ring with four rays that mark this symbol of New Mexico today. In 1925, the state of New Mexico adopted Dr. Mera\'s burgundy sun on a field of gold as the new state flag of New Mexico. Today, the burgundy appears as bright red, but only that slight color change differs from Dr. Mera\'s design, the red and yellow representing the colors of Spain.

To celebrate their link to the state in which they live, the Zia people have adopted a white flag bearing the red Zia sun symbol exactly as it appears on the New Mexico state flag. Above the Zia sun is the black inscription "Pueblo of Zia." Surrounding the entire flag is a black border. The combination of red, white and black harken back to the anonymously made pot in the Santa Fe museum.