Sunday, August 8, 2004

Kokopelli and Koshare

Saturday night I volunteered to do an Arizona Booth for the AOL-J Anniversary Pre-Closing State Fair Carnival, and went looking for suitable pictures.  I have the flag, of course, and the state flower (thanks again!), a picture of the state bird (a cactus wren) that I took myself, and lots of pictures of scenic spots from around the state.

The journaler who is organizing this said something about food and clowns and such.  In Arizona, the appropriate clown is a Hopi clown, either a live person in costume or, more likely, a kachina, also spelled katsina. There are the koshare (or koshari) clowns, with black and white stripes and almost jester-style hats, and there are the mudheads. Our mudhead kachina is in a box somewhere, and John was annoyed that I would even consider digging into the Christmas stuff for a couple of kachina ornaments we bought in the 1980s when Dillard's was still Goldwater's (as in Barry Goldwater's family, yes).

So how was I to get a picture of a koshare kachina for you without copyright violation?  I surely wasn't going to buy a kachina just to take a picture of it.  The really cheap ones (about $12.95) are Navajo-made, and not very nice. There are good Navajo artists, of course, but kachinas are not part of Navajo tradition. The really-low-end kachinas are very nearly mass produced for undiscerning tourists.

Good kachina figures, made by Hopi artists, cost many times as much as the cheap souvenir ones.  I found a perfect one for our purposes for sale on the Heard Museum site.  He's clearly celebrating with us--he has a can of soda in his hand.  The price: $1,850.00! Here's the link so you can look at him, but I won't post the picture unless the Heard Museum says I can (and I probably won't ask).  Tonight I also found another cool one, called "Everyone Likes a Fish Sandwich." Can't say these artists don't have a sense of humor.

Sunday afternoon I went to the mall (Park Place, if anybody cares), and looked around for stuff I could get cheaply and use for the booth. I got kachina stickers, a plush Kokopelli and, because it was cute, a plush javalina. Sometime I'll post a picture of real javalinas.  They're the Tucson equivalent of wild pigs, except that they're not technically pigs at all.  Remind me to tell you my javalina story one of these days, but in the meantime you get a picture of Kokopelli (an ancient Anasazi god who has become rather ubiquitous over the centuries, especially in the past decade) entertaining a plush peccary.

As you can see, I did eventually get a picture of Hopi clowns, courtesy of a nice clerk at Santa Fe Trading Co.  These guys were handcarved by Hopi artist David Phillips.  I'm sorry to say I don't know anything about the artist.

That's it for now.  Watch for more Arizona-related postings throughout the week.


AOL Journals !st Anniversary


daephene said...

Hmmm. I've seen that Kokopelli figure before but never knew what it was! Thanks for the enlightenment!


bkidsworkshop said...

Does anyone know anything about the artist, David Philips?

Great pictures.

Barbara from Colorado