Mon 11 Aug, 2003 11:21 am
Oil on canvas ('03) 18"X24"
First in a series on Kachinas, those who animate our world.
really interesting but please explain more about Kachina's to me.
There are three sorts of Kachinas. Kachinas, representing the cosmic forces that rule the Second World (where we live), are spiritual beings who live on top of San Francisco Peak in Northern Arizona. Think Mt. Olympus. Dead anscestors are related to the Kachina race, and are important intermediaries between the Second World, and the First World of the Kachinas. The People depend upon the Kachinas and the forces of nature to exist. We need the rain, the corn, squash, beans and tobacco for our way of life, for life itself.
Each year, at specified times the Kachinas descend from their lofty home to visit The People. The leading men in the pueblos know and prepare to meet the Kachinas by staging ceremonials. Many of the ceremonies are very, very secret and performed only within the kiva and never before outsiders. Kivas are round pits dug into the ground and entered via a "door" hole in the roof. Inside the kiva there is a low bench around the circumference where the men can sit. Often in the center will be a fire, and there are niches like alters where offerings can be made. Drums and songs are essential to many ceremonies. The elders and wisest men choose from their clans those who will be honored to represent the Kachinas.
On the appointed season/day/time the village men don masks and costumes appropriate to the Kachina they are to represent. They will have been prepared by singing the appropriate songs, and living according to a strict system in the weeks leading up to the ceremony. The men gather, often before dawn, outside the village and at the proper time come into the village. When the put on the mask, the costume and paint, the men BECOME the Kachina. They dance through the village performing blessings, accepting offerings of corn meal, etc. Each kachina has a different routine and set of needs that The People supply. There are a group of Kachinas called by the Anglos, Ogres. These often have a frightening aspect as a warning to those who might be tempted to live "wrongly". Carrot and the stick. Kachina dances serve a number of purposes, not all of which are probably known outside the kiva. The People are very careful about these religious ceremonies, and generally forbid photographs, or live drawings during their performances. Some ceremonies open to the residents of the pueblos are still entirely off-limits to outsiders.
The third sort of Kachinas are the dolls. Originally the Kachina Dolls were carved by village elders and given to the children to help them learn who the Kachinas are. The masks, costumes and markings served to help initiate the children into their tribal culture and religion. Carved from the foots of the Cottonwood tree, the Kachina Dolls were originally relatively crude and stiff in posture. Kachina Dolls were produced mostly by the Hopi, and Zuni Peoples until relatively recent times. As the dolls have become more valuable to art collecting Anglos, they have evolved considerably. Now Navajo and even Anglos are known to care extremely beautiful Kachinas. High-end modern art Kachina Dolls often assume sophisticated postures that suggest the movement and dynamics of the dance. High-end modern Kachina Dolls commonly can sell for thousands of dollars when the carver is a recognized master. At the low-end, Kachina Dolls can be found in tourist stores for as little as $50. These dolls tend to be more garishly painted, and have allot of feathers and fur. High-end art Kachinas usually are correct in almost every detail, but the low-end dolls frequently don't represent ANY traditional Kachina at all.
BTW, I like what I've seen of your work.
thanks for that
sorry to take so long replying but my computer was poorlyn- yes that **'%88@ virus!
Yes this is good,glad you mentioned Mt Olympus. I want to see if I can find something there. Do you think a Kachina is also a muse or could be a muse?
I don't think so, but then again, what do I know?