A fairly rare kachina to carve for the general public, the Motsin is a guard in charge of enforcing community work projects, especially clearing out the water supplies, in the spring. Anything to do with water is a very important function in the dry, high desert of the Hopi, and as such, he helps to encourage planting and a successful harvest.
As an enforcer, he carries a whip in one hand, and a length of rope in the other. Slackers, watch out!
John Poleahla, the carver, was most active in the 1980’s, when we purchased his work, including this piece. He is now retired, but was a respected lawyer, as well. At present, as an elder, he promotes the education of Hopi customs and lore, so the younger generations keep knowledge of their heritage. His kachinas are always sleekly finished, brightly colorful, authentic, of course, and a nice bridge between abstract and realistic.
Notice how all the identifying accoutrements of this kachina are carefully carved and decorated: long moccasin boots, to keep dry when wading through the springs; decorated shovel, deerskin whip, etc. His goofy head, with tongue hanging out, would be instantly recognizable to those watching the ceremony. The clean lines and vibrant colors are characteristic of this artist’s work.
Cottonwood Root, Paint, Leather, Fur
Width: 7″ Height: 12 1/2″ Depth: 5 1/2″