Left-handed Kachina with Bear Cubs
by Vern Mahkee

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14 1/2" Total Height w/ 1 1/2" Base

(Reg. Gallery Price: $10,500.00)
Special Offer: $7,500.00
(plus applicable shipping and handling fees)

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Vern Mahkee was born November 13, 1963 and resides in Oraibi, at Third Mesa. He is a member of the Corn Clan.

Vern is a self-taught artist. He learned the art of carving by watching his numerous artistic relatives, like his uncle, the famed Kachina carver Alvin James Makya, and taught himself their methods as well as developing his own.

He has won awards in such prestigious shows as the Santa Fe Indian Market. Vern¹s Hopi name is Kuwanwisiwima.

Left-handed Kachina: The Left Handed Kachina is said by some to be derived from the Hualapai Nation, but other Hopi attribute them to the Chemehuevi. He is called left handed because his gear is reversed.

To draw an arrow from the quiver he must use his right hand rather than his left as is normal. The Kachina moves with strange bobbing and little choppy steps. Despite his odd behavior, he is an excellent hunter.

"He is a favorite subject for the carving of kachina dolls or the paiting of pictures," records Barton Wright. "The Left-handed kachina, Suy-ang-e-vif, may act as a prompter in a dance or be found making odd little bows and taking small mincing steps at the edge of a procession.

A great deal of the time he has trouble with the Ho'-e when they appear in the same dance. [When together], one of the usual pair keeps up a steady step while the other points to evidence of [game] they are obviously hunting."

- Barton Wright, Kachinas: a Hopi Artist's Documentary (32)

Click on photos for enlarged detail!'

Vern Mahkee first carved Kachinas as a means of carrying on a religious rite. He began carving the dolls for sale and entering shows in 1979. Since that time he has developed a reputation for ultra-fine detail, as well as beautiful balance in his Kachinas.

The Left-hand kachina is featured here with a bear cub in one hand, his "rabbit stick" in the other, and another bear cub claws at the tree stump beside him. Vern carved a title into the base which reads "She Makes Haste." The idea is that the mother bear is not far off, and the Left-handed Hunter senses her as he is here and then off again - dashing into the forest. Every detail has been accounted for. This is one of the best kachina carvings we've had in years.

This is truly a museum quality masterpiece. The color, shading, and meticulous attention to detail is second to none! The things we noticed included the stitching in the lacing around the tops of the moccasins, the detailed quiver strap across the chest, the folds in the front sash, the fingers and fingernails, and the delicately carved bracelet on the wrist (you can see through the loops!). There are other details, but we'll let you look for yourself. Of course the posture and anatomy of the figure is impressive as well, and to top it off, his bear cubs are as realistic as any animals that we've seen any carver create. Really impressive.

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