Clarence Cleveland

Koshare: Good Trade

10 1/4" tall (total height)

The clowns of Clarence Cleveland are certainly recognizable. Appearing in many publications, and on the cover of Barton Wright's book, Clowns of the Hopi, his clowns have garnered the attention of collectors all over the world.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects of his figures is the seated posture in which they are usually busy consuming a watermelon. Whether they're licking their lips or grinning through their sticky face, they always invoke a smile.

As of late, his clowns have come clad with his trademark cowboy boots, this particular piece illustrates the more traditional "moccasin wearing" koshare that we all know and love.

However, this fellow goes shoeless on his left foot, presumably a result of a trade: moccasin for watermelon!

"Koshari or Koyala is the name of a Rio Grande clown that is often seen on the Hopi Mesas. The Hopis very frequently call this clown the Hano or Tewa clown as the Tewa of that village seem to have introduced this personage to the Hopi mesas.

These clowns are considered to be the fathers of the kachinas. They behave in the usual manner of pueblo clowns, engaging in loud and boisterous conversation, immoderate actions, and gluttony.

They are often drummers for other dances."

- Barton Wright, Kachinas: a Hopi Artist's Documentary (239)

Clarence Cleveland is in his early 60's and was married to Sadie Laban (Hopi) - as a Navajo he would not traditionally carve kachina figures, but was given special permission through his marriage by the clan which allowed him to carve clowns only.

He has been an active carver since the 1970's. He uses other materials than wood to create the tassels tied to his wrists and calves - as well as the fringe atop his cap, and the leather bag around his neck. He also uses rabbit fur to recreate the "hair" of the clown.


(photo of Clarence holding another clown)

Gallery Price: $500.00


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