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
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
"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
- 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.