SPIRIT BEAR STUDIO

Kachina "Owl Man"

The tradition of the "kachina", or "kachina dolls", comes from the Hopi Indians of northeast Arizona.  The concept of kachina pertains to the gods and ancestors of the Hopi, and they portray these figures in long dances.  The dancers dress up as the kachina they are honoring, and their costumes and gestures have significance for all members of the tribe.  In order to teach the concepts of the kachinas and dances to the children, dolls are carved, displayed, and discussed.  It is customary for these dolls to be carved from cotton wood, often found in the river beds.  Today, there are carvers who are skilled enough to carve their kachina doll from a single piece of cotton wood, which is then painted in bright colors. 

Sammy Long's "Owl Man", although created in bronze, is deliberately loose and distorted in order to convey a sense of spontaneity that is usually found in the original carving.  "Owl Man" is the first of what may well be a series honoring the Hopi and their kachinas.

 

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