Harvest Kachina

Victor Triujillo


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His exquisitely detailed carvings have won many prizes.

Like most of his work, this powerful kachina is a contemporary rendition, carved with great delicacy, grace, and precision.

It depicts the Harvest Kachina, also called the Red Longhair, whose long beard symbolizes rainfall.

He is portrayed as a human dancer, wearing a mask identifying the particular kachina, as seen in a ceremonial dance.

Like many kachinas, the purpose of this one pertains to assuring abundant crops, and therefore good health, happiness, and prosperity for all.

The incredible attention to realistic detail begins at the top, with the four tiers of short feathers, pierced by long eagle feathers and a bright green parrot feather.

Feathers, especially eagle feathers, are believed to carry prayers and hope up to the heavenly spirits since birds fly so high – eagles, in particular.

The kachina’s hair flows in a graceful curved fall, down his back, adorned with red and green garlands.

He wears turquoise and clamshell heishi earrings, and has a braided cord around his mask, with hanging tassels of feathers.

Strong arms are banded with broad bands of green, with a leather, silver and turquoise ketoh around one wrist, and knotted black cord around the other.

The hands are beautifully detailed – even down to the fingernails! The evergreen sprig in one hand and the painted gourd rattle in the other are, likewise, meticulously carved.

Notice the graceful draping to his kilt, and the brightly painted rain designs, on one side. Long leather fringe hangs down from his waist, swaying as he dances.

More black cords are tied just below his knees, which are nicely articulated, and he sports black fringe coverings over his moccasins- more rainfall symbolism.

Behind, a fox pelt hangs from his waistband, with the naturalistically painted tail also moving to his dance steps. Take note of the wrapped and realistic paws still attached.

The kachina dances on top of a flat slab, suggesting a mesa, below which is carved the central plaza of a prehistoric Anasazi village, built into the side of the cliff.

Every adobe brick, window, door, kiva and kiva ladder are crisply and minutely carved.

The arrangement suggests a spiritual being, hovering over the village, in response to prayers for rain and sun, in balance; therefore, a fine harvest.

The entire piece has been coated with a lacquer, to preserve the finish.

Stately, mysterious, and exuding serene power, this is a magnificent example of kachina carving.

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