Known for his meticulously carved and detailed miniature kachinas that are quickly and happily added to collections, the carver has lately stretched – literally – to create this larger, astonishingly detailed figure of the decorative Butterfly Maiden.
She looks carved entirely from one piece of dead cottonwood root, as per tradition.
This material does not disturb a living tree, and symbolizes the blessing of water, since cottonwood trees grow along waterways and their roots reach down far, for moisture.
Butterflies aid in pollination of plants and crops, so are associated with happiness, health and prosperity.
Butterfly Maiden is a favorite carving, because she is so decorative.
“Palhik Mana” – the Hopi name for this figure – is a Butterfly Maiden dancer, not a true kachina. She is portrayed with a mask, when carved, but is not masked in the actual dances.
This carving, like all of Brian’s, is full of wonderful detail and color: the rope-like texture of the long tassels of her belt; the shawl over one shoulder, her bracelets, lacy petticoat, and embroidered hem of her dress; wrapped, soft white leather moccasins, the feathers in her hair, and her necklace.
The tablita on her head is a lovely riot of color, from sunny gold to floral purples and red, with accents of turquoise. This palette is repeated in the rest of her paraphernalia, with the brown of her hair, and the black of her dress resting the eye.
She carries eagle feathers, symbolizing prayers and thanks for her help in the harvest. They will carry that gratitude up to the heavens.
Turned around, she is just as beautiful from the back! Her long hair is carefully etched, and formed into a lovely shape.
A pouff of brown feathers anchors the headdress, supporting turquoise and purple feathers which match the colors on the butterfly, painted on the tablita.
Her blanket shawl curves gracefully, in the opposite direction to the slight curve of her dress’s hem.
Hem, hair, butterfly wings, and shawl’s hem create a lovely pattern of curves, offset by the straight edges of the tablita headdress.
Lots to enjoy, visually, in this fine carving, and the price is enjoyable as well!