Left-handed Kachina with
by Vern Mahkee
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Total Height w/ 1 1/2" Base
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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.
on photos for enlarged detail!'
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
- Barton Wright, Kachinas: a Hopi
Artist's Documentary (32)
Call Brandon with
Inquiries on this Piece
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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