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
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
"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.
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)