A noted painter, David K. John uses his wonderful sense of color in his popular clay masks, as well.
An abstract composition of traditional symbols, this mask features Kokopelli, the water spiral, stepped rain signs, a lizard, and mountain goats.
These are all symbols of happiness, health, and abundance, and decorate a clay mask, in the form of a Ye’i, a Navajo spirit.
The Ye’i is an intermediary between people on earth and the heavens, so the mask symbolizes prayers for the things depicted on the mask.
At the bottom right, Kokopelli is shown. He is the source of life, blowing the seeds that will germinate into plants (including crops) and all living things.
To his left, are two spry goats, which are sources of meat; a blue spiral, above Kokopelli, signifies water, and the river of life.
The dark red lizard represents the land, and animals who aid crops by eating insect pests.
The whole mask is beautifully painted in a medley of warm and sunny oranges and yellows, with an area of blue-ish green around Kokopelli.
Glittering sparks of mica are embedded in the clay, especially visible at the sides and bottom.
They resemble glistening water drops.
Also on the mask, are stepped designs, which refer to rain, and a few circular dots which usually are signs of raindrops.
The dark red, oranges and yellows refer to sun and land; the blue spiral and other blue accents symbolize water and sky.
Nature depends on the harmony of sun and water, land and sky, to thrive.
Harmony in nature is a Navajo ideal, so that is the prayer the Ye’i is tasked with: proportional water and sunshine, for abundant harvests, and wild game for meat.
Happiness, good health, and prosperity will follow.
The large feather represents the prayers and hopes flying up to the heavens.
Expertly painted in a lovely modulation of colors, and equally well-modeled clay, this mask is a vibrant addition to a wall of art, and looks just as striking, on its own.
With handsome color and traditional meaning, this is a special piece by an acknowledged, award-winning artist.