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Oliver Tsinnie: Black Ogre

18 1/4" total height

"The fearsome Nataska always come as a pair. They accompany the Soyoko on their collection trip and usually stand directly behind the member of the crew who is bargaining with the relatives of the children.

"They make horrible noises, dragging their saws [and knives, or whatever it may be] along the side of the house or on the ground. All the while, they keep up a steady stamping that makes the turtle-shell rattles on their legs sound ominously.

"They are supposed to be able to eat a child whole; from the very earliest age, the child has heard stories of these monsters - how they would descend on children playing near the village and haul them away to cook and eat. So it is no wonder that the children are petrified at their actual appearance!

"Usually only dark colored clothes are put on this kachina pair, who should have horns. The feather fan is made of turkey feathers which are placed close together to form a large mass behind the head that makes the figures appear much taller and broader."

- Barton Wright, Kachinas: a Hopi Artists Documentary (78)


Oliver Tsinnie was born to Dorothea Fritz and Orville Tsinnie in December, 1964. He was born into the Hopi fire clan (also known as Masa) on his mother’s side and his father was Navajo. He has been carving since 1992 and credits his mother for convincing him to give carving a try. He was completely self-taught. He remembers watching his Grandfather and his uncles carving when he was very young. At that time he says, they pieced the Kachinas together with nails and put fabric,fur and leather on them for clothes and shoes. Oliver is married to Marcella and they have 10 children between them.

Oliver carves one piece Kachinas and has become a very fine carver. He uses quite a bit of motion and his fine detail is excllent. His favorite Kachinas to carve are the Ogre and the Deer.

Oliver has taken awards at the Museum of Northern Arizona and Santa Fe at Indian Market. He also won the SWAIA challenge award in 2000.

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