Coolidge Roy Jr.


5" H with 3/4" base

Coolidge Roy Jr. and his wife Juanita live on Third Mesa in Oraibi, Arizona. Coolidge has long been famous for his magnificently beautiful Eagle Dancer Kachina dolls.

Coolidge's father was a carver, too, as are his brothers and sons. Other fine examples of Coolidge's work can be found in most books on Hopi art including Hopi Kachina Dolls and their carvers by Theda Bassman and Erik Bromberg's The Hopi Approach to the Art of Kachina Doll Carving.

He was born on August 4, 1950 and has been carving for well over 30 years. His work is well known and can be recognized easily because of his unique style. One of the most noticeable aspects of his carvings is the "natural" coloration that he achieves by using only very faint pigments.

He likens his experise unto a professor or doctor who has spent their whole life learning their profession, and it shows in his work.

Coolidge has a lot of respect for his tradition and is extremely sensitive to it. He will not carve certain figure who "the elders" have warned against - concerned that it might bring misfortune to a friend or family member.

"Most of the time, when I am carving," he said, "I sing a song, a special song for each carving. The songs that I sing are the songs the Kachinas dance to. It's their song."

He also has a tradition of gathering up his shavings and taking them to a special place where he leaves them and lets the wind carry them away.

"Masau'u (Skeleton Kachina) is the only kachina who does not go home at the Niman Ceremony and thus may dance at any time of the year. The organization of the dance is very much like that of the Niman with the Masau'u dancing in one line and the Masau'u Mana in the other.

"In addition the Skeleton Kachina may appear during the Pachavu as a pair, with the Wawash Kachina as a racer, or after a regular kachina dance in the plaza. As he is a Death Kachina he does many things by opposites, for the world of the Dead is the reverse of this world.

"Thus he may come down a ladder backward or perform many other common actions in reverse. In addition the standard Masau'u dance often has antic episodes during the performance. Occasionally he may appear as a pair of Masau'u behaving erratically, singing or growling a bit, beating on the kiva hatchways with the willow switches, or dancing around the fires at the cooking pits and even through the fires.

"The many colored splotches on the mask are alluded to as clouds even though the actual face is that of a skull surmounted by Soyal prayer feathers."

- Barton Wright, Kachinas: a Hopi Artist's Documentary (254)

Gallery Price: $690.00


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