Obviously, this is a spectacular carving: Over two feet tall, with at least three kachinas carved into the natural cottonwood root, with three more up in the clouds, and a Hopi village carved atop a mesa, with rainbow and rainclouds, above!
This artist, from First Mesa, on Hopi land, is known for detailed and naturalistic carvings. This one is that, mostly one-piece, and truly monumental.
Using the natural form of the cottonwood tree root, there are three different scenes on this stupendous carving: two on the vertical, and one on the horizontal.
Atop the vertical trunk, is a full-bodied Parrot kachina dancer, caught in motion with head and one arm raised. This is a very old, and rare kachina, first seen on First Mesa.
He is beautifully detailed, from his rainbow-hued mask to the parrot effigy on his head, to his jewelry, delicately carved fingers, his kilt, and sash, fox tail on the back, right down to his fancy moccasins.
Below him, rainbow colored clouds, rainbow, and rain, hover above a Hopi village, set upon a mesa, leading down to the desert floor.
On the opposite side, three of the chief kachinas appear in the clouds. From left to right: Hahai-i Wuhti, Pour Water Woman, or Kachina Grandmother. She influences the seasons, and rainfall.
Next is Crow Mother. Considered the mother of all kachinas, she is involved in many important ceremonies, and in initiating children. She also gives out piki bread, ceremonial corn flour wafers, symbols of a good harvest.
On the right is a version of Eototo, the “husband” of Hahahi-i, who controls the seasons. His plain look originates on First Mesa, again, the home of the carver.
Below this celestial trio, is a large, carved Sunface. This is the other element, besides rain, needed for a good harvest. Notice how each feather of his “rays” is carved separately, and stands out.
This Sunface also wears green leaves on his head, symbolizing the hoped-for result of rain and sun, in balance.
The dancer behind the giant Sunface mask reaches out his arms, holding a rattle and a flower in each well-carved hand, and a turquoise armband on his wrist.
Soaring out from under the Sunface, is another parrot kachina, this one the female counterpart., with rainbow skirt and typical Hopi blanket over her shoulders.
She has the same greenery in a ruff around her neck, the same parrot on top of her rainbow head, and two fancy bracelets.
Her offering is a quartet of corn, in a basket. This is the result of water, sun, and thriving plants. The ears are colored to represent the four seasons and the four directions.
Like every element in this magisterial work, the fingers and hands are beautifully carved.
The more you look, the more you see and marvel at: detail upon detail, whether painted or carved, is brilliantly achieved.
Not your average kachina carving, this impressive piece deserves a spotlight of its own.
An extraordinary “must” for the serious kachina collector.