A fascinating, majestic kachina, by veteran San Felipe/Isleta carver, Irvin Jojola.
The intricate, openwork design was carved and painted by hand, from one piece of cottonwood.
One-piece kachina carvings are difficult and uncommon, and, therefore, very sought-after.
Thanks to historic trading with Mexico, and Central America, many tribes acquired and treasured the feathers, and even the living parrots, themselves, for centuries past.
For the Hopi, the parrot is a directional guardian, associated with the south; some Pueblo tribes consider parrots a symbol of fertility, and parrots are also clan animals for several tribes, including the Pueblos.
There is a Parrot Dance at some Pueblos. This imposing carving depicts the colorful Parrot kachina in full dance regalia.
From vibrant feathers atop the beaked mask, to the heishi necklace, embroidered sashes, and woven blanket that encompasses the abstract figure, details are realistically, and finely, carved and painted.
The solid piece of dead cottonwood root has been skillfully carved open, to reveal meticulously detailed ruins of Anasazi cliff dwellings.
Ancestors of the Pueblos lived in these cliff-side villages for several hundred years, and the ruins are still visible, and visitable, at Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, for instance.
Every part of this remarkably fine carving is beautifully rendered, whether carved or painted.
Notice the way the fringes of the green sashes are incised, swaying in the breeze, just above the carved, tiny adobe bricks of a two-story house.
The leaves of the ruff around the neck, and the bunched pheasant feathers holding the spray of parrot feathers on the head; each decorative motif has been painstakingly incised and painted, with precision.
There are stairways carved into the “rock”, connecting the different levels of houses, just as in the actual sites.
Above the highest dwellings, just under the two sides of the blanket and the necklace, the wood has been carved to emulate the caverns and natural rock niches of the canyon wall.
Combining jewel-like color with the sandstone-tan of the wood, both the splendor of the bird and the dancer/spirit’s regalia, and the sun-baked cliffs of the Anasazi dwellings, are evoked.
Delicate in detail, stately and dignified in effect, this carving is beautiful from all angles.
An unusual subject, unusually well-realized; artistry, skill, and a singular vision, brought together masterfully.