This very traditional carver’s work is widely collected. His “dolls”, as he calls them, were originally made so children would learn to recognize the dancers’ masks, and the meaning behind them, during ceremonies. They were also meant to be toys; carried around in blankets and played with like modern kids play with Barbies.The artist maintains the age-old style. Somehow, his kachinas are always cuddly in appearance, even though made of unyielding wood, as is this charming depiction of the Morning Singer.
Morning Singers appear at the Bean dances, auguring a successful planting season and harvest, ahead. Unlike most carvings of this kachina, he is not carrying an evergreen sprig, nor has a ruff of the same. Instead, Poleyestewa has shown him as a representation of an ear of corn, enveloped in real, dried corn husks, with soft, multicolored kernels painted on the body. Corn husk tassels dangle from his ears, and rain signs decorate his cheeks. Rain is needed to ensure a bountiful harvest, and is especially important to the farmers of Hopi, who rely on rainfall exclusively, since there are not streams out on their part of the high desert. Atop and behind his head, clusters of natural feathers represent prayers and hope for a good planting season. Since birds fly so high, feathers symbolize the trajectory of prayers up to the heavens.
Continuing an age-old tradition, authentically and delightfully, Poleyestewa’s kachinas are always friendly and decorative – even the ogres. This Morning Singer, is particularly so.
Natural Clay, Natural Pigments, Corn Husk, and Pheasant Feathers
Width: 3 5/8″ Depth: 3 1/8″